In just a few days, it will be Purim. Every year, I order a box of hamentaschen to share with my colleagues in my office, and think about all the years I made dozens and dozens of them with all sorts of filling. The recipe I used was the one I grew up with – the one my mother always made. It’s made of the thinnest possible dough, and she always used a glass to cut out the circles before they were filled with lekvar (prune butter). I added other flavors to the ones I made, and my favorites became those with chocolate chips.
The noise makers I used for Purim, were not the typical groggers (noise makers), but remnants, I think, from some long ago new years eve – they look like small metal cans with wooden sticks and make a lot of noise. There was also a copper cow bell. They are all on a shelf somewhere. For this Purim, I bought something special. I won’t be using it – I left it with my dad to use at his Orthodox synagogue which is possibly a closer service to the service at which it was last used, over 70 years ago.
If you are a reader of this blog, you may recollect that last summer, my team and I had an incredible adventure, driving through Eastern Europe. On August 15 we were in Augustów, Poland where at a flea market on the site of what used to be the central market place, I saw cases of items that once, before the Shoah, belonged to a Jewish family. I bought one of the items in the case, and I felt like I was redeeming it from its captors. It was, as you’ve probably guessed, a grogger. My intent was for it to be used in the proper context once again. So, I asked my dad to please use it for this Purim, and then next year, I will use it at my own synagogue, which is less traditional.
This spring, I’ll be going back to Poland, in two trips, and thinking about that day in the market in Augustów, and keeping my eyes open for other remnants of the community that was, and perhaps bringing back something else that can once again be used in its proper place, at the proper time.
If you observe Purim, I wish you a joy-filled holiday and a celebration of life and freedom.