It may be hard to believe, but Purim is just around the corner. That is why it gives me great pleasure to announce that after deep consultation among the staff, we have chosen a theme for this year's Purim festivities. Be it hereby known that this year, it's a Disney kind of Purim.
Remember that the Disney world (nice turn of a phrase, eh?) is much more populated and pluralistic than it used to be. Of course we will welcome the many rodents, canines and apoplectic birds which have populated classic Disney cartoons. You may also wish to investigate characters who are vertically challenged, royally disabled or otherwise politically incorrect. Please, no Al-Gore-as-Pinocchio costumes -- you're more creative than that.
But don't forget more recent Disney offerings -- the mermaid with the Hebrew name, the cartoon feature about the Jewish values of education and hospitality, the symbol of Judah's sovereignty and the recent blockbuster about tradition and modernity in service to a common goal. Oh yes, Disney has done some stuff about human beings, too.
Through the years, many congregants have questioned why we need a Purim theme other than "Purim." The answer is, we don't. But there are two reasons we have them. The first has to do with fun. Purim is a holiday of fancy and fantasy; creating a make-believe world is part of the celebration. The second has to do with a much more elevated purpose -- by connecting the various aspects of our lives with tradition, we raise our own spiritual consciousness. Just as the "utility candles" in the grocery store remind you of Shabbat and a horseradish root reminds you of Pesach, by attaching Purim to familiar secular figures, you will remember your Judaism when you see them, rather than being distracted from them. These themes allow our lives to go up in holiness, never down.
If you do not come in costume, at least bring a bottled contribution to the L'Chayyim Collection, to be used for various happy occasions.
Purim starts on Monday night, March 4, with ma'ariv at 6:45 and the festivities beginning at 7:00 and concluding by 9:00. The morning reading of the Book of Esther will begin on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. May it be filled with light, joy, gladness and endearment for us all!