The Common Household Husband was invited to a bris, which took place this morning at 8 a.m. When he brought home this news just a short 8 days ago, we wondered about the important things – What does a guest wear to a bris? What sort of gift does a guest bring to a bris? How does a guest avoid making tasteless jokes about scissors and knives?
My husband did some research, which meant he e-mailed the president of the synagogue women’s group. He ended up deciding on a Passover bib, not a thing which I knew existed. Just to be clear – the Passover bib does not answer the question “What does a guest wear?” Clearly, all the male guests wear iron underwear, and on top of that, nice slacks, shirt, and professorish sweater vest.
This morning when he left, I said, “Let me know how the bris goes,” and he responded, “I’ll be sure to cut to the chase when I call you.”
Last weekend we attended a Jewish party of another sort – Purim! If you’ve read the book of Esther in the Bible, you already know all about Purim. The customs are to read the Megillah (the book of Esther) out loud in the synagogue, using groggers (noisemakers) to drown out the name of Haman, the wicked dude in the story. Some people say that you are supposed to drink enough alcohol so that it becomes impossible to distinguish between the name of the evil guy Haman and the good guy Mordechai. Kids and adults dress up in costume. A good time is had by all, as long as everybody ignores the gruesome parts of the Biblical story, just like Christians at Christmas ignore Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.
This year our synagogue sponsored a Purim Party for adults only: costumes encouraged, but not required. I wasn’t that into it, being rather tired by my trip to Maryland earlier in the week. About an hour before the party, we decided maybe we would try to go in costume, and began a search. My husband simply borrowed my son’s Phantom of the Opera costume. Getting dressed is always easier for the men, isn't it?
After a couple false starts on my costume, I remembered that in the back of my closet I had the dress my mother wore to my brother’s wedding 20+ years ago – floor-length, sparkly, and most importantly, spandex. Younger Daughter found me a Disney princess tiara, I found some fancy bridesmaid gloves from a long-ago wedding, Older Daughter applied some makeup, and I was all set as Queen Esther herself.
|Practicing a little Phantom of the Opera at home|
I stuck Einstein in my purse, but then forgot about him, so he languished in there for the whole shebang. When we got to the party, I was surprised to discover that not too many people came in costume. There was a couple that came as Jake and Elwood (The Blues Brothers!); someone came as a newspaper (wearing black, white, and red, with a giant newspaper bow in her hair); a flapper, and a few others.
|Einstein was ready to party, but never got the chance.|
There were many triangular foods, including hamentaschen, the traditional Purim cookies which in Hebrew are called “Haman’s Ears.” After obeying the commandment to drink inebriating drinks, we headed to the sanctuary, where we read an extremely abbreviated Megillah in English, with almost no killing in it. Then we had the traditional debate: Which is better – latkes or hamentaschen? On Purim, hamentaschen always win, even the poppyseed-filled kind.
|Phantom at the party with his date Queen Esther|
How are you celebrating the arrival of spring? Did you go to any Mardi Gras parties?