Friday, February 23, 2018

Shabbat-O-Gram for Feb. 23

The start of today's Tel Aviv Marathon - photo taken by TBE's Pinchas Gross, who writes, 
Despite all (!) that is going on now in Israel and around its borders, 
40,000 runners, and many tens of thousands of spectators 
attended today's marathon. 
A wow for the vibrancy and resilience of the Israeli society!

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Shabbat Zachor and next Wed. evening, Purim!

Join us for Kabbalat Shabbat at 7:30 tonight and don't forget our monthly Shabbat-in-the-Round tomorrow morning, featuring meditation, chant, conversation...and food - in a very informal setting.  Breakfast and schmooze at 9:30!

Given the sadness that has filled our country since last week's school shooting in  Florida, it is hard to shift our sights to the merriment of Purim.  Fortunately, Purim itself shows us the way.  teaching us how to survive in a dangerous world.   All too often, Jewish communities have faced catastrophe. Occasionally, miraculous interventions have enabled us to avert certain doom. Based on the Talmudic idea of saying blessings at places where narrow escapes have happened, the custom arose for communities to celebrate anniversaries of Purim-like events. These became known as "Special Purims."

Pardon the Purim pun, but there are lots of them.

The list below, which is just a partial list, comes from the Jewish Encyclopedia. Take your pick.... and as you do, think of all the Purims that could not be celebrated - and the Purims yet-to-come. Destiny seems to ride on the luck of the draw, for Jews and others.  Where will the next school shooting occur?  What will happen next in Syria?  Will the next big political indictment come in Washington or Jerusalem?  What will that mean for our future?  We just keep on drawing those lots.  Check out a few of these Special Purims.

Purim of Abraham Danzig (called also Pulverpurim="Powder Purim"): 
Purim of Ancona: 
Purim of Angora: 
Purim Borghel: 
Purim di Buda. 
Purim of Cairo: 
Purim of Candia: 
Purim of Chios (called also Purim de la Señora = "of the Good Lady"): 
Purim de los Christianos (called also Purim de las Bombas): 
Purim Edom (called also Purim al-Naāra): 
Purim of Florence: 
Purim di Fuoco. 
Purim Fürhang (Curtain Purim): 
Purim of Gumeldjina (popularly called Purim de los Ladrones = "Purim of Bandits"): 
Purim of Jonathan b. Jacob of Fulda: 
Purim of Lepanto: 
Purim of Narbonne: 
Purim of Padua: 
Purim Povidl (Plum-Jam Purim): 
Purim of Rhodes: 
Purim of Saragossa: 
Purim Sherif: 
Purim of Shiraz (called also Purim of Mo'ed Ḳaṭan): 
Purim of Tammuz at Algiers: 
Purim of Tiberias: 
Purim of Tripoli: 
Purim of Widdin: 
Purim Winz (called also Purim Frankfurt): 
Purim of Yom-Ṭob Lipmann Heller:
Purim is coming on Wednesday evening.  Join us for our family Megilla reading - Karaoke-style, following by our world-famous carnival.  (OK, maybe not world famous) Thank you to everyone signed up to help with the carnival (and teens, we definitely could use some more help!), along with Talia Raich, who will be reading Megilla for us at our 5:30 family service and the 8 PM Purim-for-Adults up in the chapel. 

And come in costume!  

Here are some of the costumes I've worn over the years... Which one is your favorite?  I couldn't find photos of some of them, like my pig outfit (Rabbi Ham) or the time I came as Barney the Dinosaur.



See why 
we dress up in the video below

Why do Jews Wear Masks on Purim?
Why do Jews Wear Masks on Purim?

With the Oscars AND Purim coming next week, here are my 5778...

Best Picture nominees

"Call Me by Your Name" - Uncle Louie comes up for an aliyah and forgets how to say "Louie" in Hebrew.

"Darkest Hour" - Looking for three stars for Havdalah, but OMG, it's cloudy!

"Dunk-Irk" - Sarah tries her patented cannonball dive into the mikva, but Sally, who's immersing, is rather pissed about it.

"Get Out" - Jerry declares that he is gay at the very moment his Jewish divorce becomes final.

"Lady Brr-ed" - Esther shivers while waiting for Mordechai to get the car.

"Phantom Thread" - A mysterious purple strand emerges in Yossi's tzitzis.

"The Post" - Thousands of new menorah-shaped wrought iron lamp posts cause acute bulb shortage

"The Shape of Water" - Intermarriage with sea monster OK'ed by Chief Rabbinate, since Fishy is never not immersing; until sadistic government operative attempts the first-ever aquatic circumcision and things get messy.

"Three (OK, Four) (Jewish) Billboards (Way) Outside Ebbing, Missouri" - There were many nominees, but here are four that can spark some Purim conversation.

1960s ad campaign
from the New Yorker, October 1938

New York, 1950s

Which billboard do you like best?

And the winner for the worst anti-Semitic billboard of the year?  Hands down, it's what our group saw in Hungary, where the authoritarian government used George Soros as a scapegoat - as antidemocratic governments tend to do these days.


Also for Purim:

See MyJewishlearning's Purim archives, where you can discover which kind of hamantaschen you are: apricot, poppy or prune, and learn why Esther was a vegetarian.

Also see the exciting archaeological news, announced this week, of the possible discovery of Isaiah's signature in this clay seal:



I hope you can join me and our fellow congregants in two weeks at Shabbat Across Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, United Jewish Federation's annual celebration of community and Shabbat featuring guest speaker Professor Jonathan Sarna. You can easily register at or by contacting Lauren Steinberg at or 203-321-1373 ext. 108. Early bird pricing ends tomorrow! We are proud to be partnering with UJF in creating this community-wide event and look forward to coming together for a memorable and enjoyable evening.

Time's a Fleetin'...
Reserve NOW for these Pesach events!


-          Women's Seder, Tuesday, March 13
-          Interfaith Seder at Grace Farms, Thursday, March 22
-          Chocolate Seder and Family Shabbat Dinner, Friday, March 23
-          Congregational Second Seder, Saturday, March 31

Have a joyous Purim!  and BE HAPPY, IT'S ADAR!

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