e's my little Shushan boy. Note that he's wearing the same costume as last year. Except it's a bit shorter. Or he's a bit longer. Still the darned cutest Persian monarch ever to hold court in the Inland Empire.
(The fuss is over the Jewish version of Mardi Gras, called Purim, which celebrates one of the few times in our history we evaded massacre. Alas, it's apocryphal.)
On a serious note, a few of us Mommies are in high dudgeon at Minitaur's pre-school. It's a Reform synagogue, which is supposed to be a more liberal kinda place.
Yesterday, they rounded up the kids for a costume parade and then had them file into the sanctuary to sing the usual songs and have the Rabbi and Cantor explain all about wicked Haman (boooo!) and wise, brave Mordecai (yaaaaayyy!) and, oh yeah, pretty Esther (silence).
Just about every girl there had a Disney princess costume on.
Think about this. Think hard.
If you're unfamiliar with the Purim story, it's called the Book of Esther. Not the Book of Mordecai, her uncle. It's Esther who lands the king because she's modest, not just pretty. Big difference.
It's Esther who tells the king she's vegetarian so she doesn't have to eat unkosher meat.
It's Esther who confesses her fears and feels the weight of her position as Haman's plot against the Jews unfolds.
It's Esther who, at Mordecai's urging, screws her courage to the sticking place and finds a way to see the king.
It's Esther, alone and unaided, who pleads with her husband to save her life and that of her people.
But the version my son and all his crinolin-clad playmates heard yesterday is that Esther was real, real purdy, and isn't that nice? And aren't we lucky Mordecai was so brave and wise?
Fictional or not, it's an important story in Jewish lore, and one where a woman plays a prominent role. Can we please not Disney-fy her down to glass slippers and a vapid giggle?
Odd, but last year when I heard the Book of Esther read by Chassidim, they made a great deal about Esther's heroism. They even said a prayer for her predecessor, Queen Vashti, who lost her crown (and likely her head) when she refused to dance for the drunk king at a festival.
Next time somebody tells me the Reform movement is more "egalitarian", I'm going to ask them to explain exactly how.