the queerest of the jewish holidays fall just a few weeks apart from each other this time of year: purim and pesach. handsdown, my two favorite holidays.
JFREJ, Jews for Economic Justice, put on a party and purim schpeil to raise funds for their current campaigns. JFREJ is one of those non-profs that acts more like a movement than a mere social justice .org. The event was part rally, part tailgate party, and part Oregon Country Fair. There were larger-than-life (literally) puppets, megaphones, and queer klezmer. There was dancing, costumes and beer. It was a freezing cold night but, runny noses and numb fingers and all, we stood outside in some concrete courtyard in Brooklyn to watch the raucous and politically relevant retelling of the purim story. I looked around and thought, for the first time, that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to live in New York.
So purim is drag and drunkenness, damn-the-man and dig-your-heels-in: all the things radical queerz like. and likewise, pesach also speaks to us homos, though with fewer sequins and princess dresses, and more bitter, dire-strai(gh)ts tears and feelings of camaraderie in the face of oppression.
This year for pesach, my family is going to try something new: we’re going to make our own traditions apart from, yet informed by, our orthodox background. we on the “other” side of the family, are going to try to do something hybrid form. something tailor-made. this means having three different haggadahs, a banjo, stories of the ba’al shem tov and the holy Ari, all the good food, one shiksa, two dykes, two couples living outta wedlock, hebrew, english, yiddish, and room for both eliyahu AND miriam at the table.
everything gets mixed up on these holidays– they are permissive. i think in these two holidays, there is the most leeway for creating one’s own minhag more so than any others.
some people do it one way, others, another way.
and we’re all right.
except if you use two-ply paper towels with the chametzdick adhesive. then you’re unequivocally incorrect.