Ellis Shuman

My granddaughter wants to be a hammer for Purim

He's no fan of Purim disguise, but his granddaughter wants to be 'something scary'

My granddaughter wants to be a hammer for Purim.

Or an air conditioner. As long as it’s “something scary.” I’m getting scared wondering where she is coming up with these ideas.

Okay, let me admit it right from the start. I’m not a big fan of Purim parties. There’s something about everyone dressing up in costume, trying to outdo each other in original ideas and creativity, which disturbs me. There’s also something about not knowing who people are. Friends and neighbors are in disguise, putting me at a serious disadvantage when I’m talking to them. Take off your masks please so that I can identify you!

I despise dressing up in a Purim costume. The sensation of swishing around in gowns, sheets, and bulky pants – it’s almost painful to think about. Trying to balance a loose-fitting hat on my head makes it difficult to dance.

And then there’s the whole idea of makeup. Why cover one’s skin in shoe polish or exaggerated eyeliner beards and mustaches? It doesn’t make sense.

The only costume I will agree to wear is one that’s not invasive, something thrown on almost like an afterthought. I’ll submit to my wife’s request only if the festive, outlandish costume selected is something that can easily be taken off, so that I can get back to my normal appearance and try to enjoy the rest of the party.

Costumes for children, well, that’s a completely different story. And the younger the child, the more amazed that he or she is with the idea of wearing a costume to school or to gan.

Take my elder granddaughter. She’s almost three years old and there’s a big party coming up in her gan next week. I sat with her and together we looked through a pamphlet of suggested Purim costumes, ranging from Queen Esther in all her finery, to Cinderella, to ghosts and devils.

“I want to be something scary,” she said, pointing at a picture of someone wearing what appeared to be a white sheet with slots for eyes cut out of the fabric.

After she pointed at a number of suitable costumes she fancied, I asked her to sum up her choice. “So, what do you want to be for Purim?”

“A hammer,” she replied, causing me to laugh. A hammer? She quickly added another suggestion if the stores were all out of hammer costumes. “Or, an air conditioner!”

I’m not quite sure how a hammer or an air conditioner fits into the Purim Megila, but leave it to our young loved ones to come up with new and imaginative ways to celebrate the holiday. As for me, a store-bought golden cap and cape will do just fine.

About the Author
Ellis Shuman made aliya to Jerusalem as a teenager, served in the IDF, was a founding member of a kibbutz, and now lives on Moshav Neve Ilan. Ellis is the author of ‘The Burgas Affair’ – a crime thriller set in Israel and Bulgaria; ‘Valley of Thracians’ - a suspense novel set in Bulgaria; and 'The Virtual Kibbutz' - a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. Ellis lived with his wife for two years in Bulgaria, and blogs regularly about Israel, Bulgaria, books, and writing.
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