Also, It Was Just Purim

I also think it’s worth recording here that the holiday Purim just passed. This is a holiday full of silliness, from its name to its observance.

The word “Purim”, in American English, is pronounced just as the word looks – with a strong “PUH” and a short “rum”. PUH-rum. But if you pronounce it this way to an Israeli, they have absolutely no idea what you are saying. You have to make yourself feel like an a-hole and sound out the gutteral “r”. POO-rheem.

The holiday is all about remembering how Queen Esther and Mordechai saved the Jews from Haman, the evil vizier to the king.

The Food

Also, the cookies you find all over the place during Purim in Israel are a bit different than those in the U.S. They’re triangle-shaped pockets of dough with fillings baked inside. As a child, I always loved the strawberry and raspberry-filled hamantaschen. I have not found a single strawberry or raspberry-filled hamantasch in Tel Aviv. Rather, they contain chocolate, nuts or some mixture of the two.

In the States, we call them hamantaschen, which is Yiddish for “Haman’s ears”. In Israel, they’re called ozney haman, literally “Haman’s ears”. (Israelis generally don’t know/use Yiddish terms like American Jews, which I always find interesting.)

The Ritual

You’re supposed to dress up. It’s pretty much exactly like Halloween in the states. For almost a full week, people are in costume – waiters and waitresses at restaurants, little kids on the street with their parents, teenagers roaming around at night dressed as zombies.

I went as the color purple. I just put on a lot of different clothes and accessories I own that happen to be purple. I was going to just not wear a costume, and say that I was going as “apathy”. I decided it would be better to say I was going to go as apathy – pause – and then explain “but then I didn’t care enough”. Genius, right? There needs to be more ironic, subversive costume options for people who really don’t give a sh*t and don’t want to dress up, and are against the whole thing. Simply not wearing a costume isn’t satisfying enough. It just looks like you’re not creative. I want to make a statement about being above the entire thing. A sort of meta-costume.

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