Sunday, February 19, 2012

Purim Clown Puppet (and Purim Fabric)


This is my Purim Clown Hand Puppet, currently available over at m'Etsy Shop.  It's made from a swatch of my Purim Kawaii Fabric from my Spoonflower designs (it's also available in pink and blue), a vintage clown doll head, a stripey fabric (I think it's just from Hancock Fabrics or something), some ribbon, and a button.  Spoonflower's 8x8 swatches aren't quite big enough to cover an entire puppet, but I don't like anything in my fabric pile to go to waste, so they make nice enough shirts for certain puppets.

Purim fabric -- it's not Hanukkah, but...

OK, here's the deal: I'm not actually Jewish.  But, for not being Jewish, I'm at Temple Israel in Minneapolis quite a bit.  While spoken Hebrew doesn't do anything for me aesthetically, I've always been attracted to the letters themselves, so I took both years of the Hebrew class that they offer at Temple Israel.  Since then I've taken a Monday night class every time they've offered a batch of them (JL@TI, as they call it), I attend Torah Study here and there on Saturday mornings, and I'm starting to become a regular at Rabbi Glaser's once-a-month Kabbalah class.  

Getting into all of this might be a job for a different blog, but I'm probably as positively, actively interested in Judaism (at least in the way it's presented at a progressive-minded Reform temple) as someone who isn't actually interested in becoming a Jew can be.  My "research project" (which has nothing to do with puppets, is a completely different project than my puppets, and definitely has no place on this blog) has led me to read Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews and similar compilations, books of midrash and kabbalah, and even big chunks of the Torah.  I don't really get into my whole story with people I've met at Temple Israel; I'm pretty sure it's not even a big deal that I'm not Jewish.  Part of my reticence is that I'm incredibly shy; part of it is that I'm not sure what's worse: being an outright anti-semitic bigot, or appropriating somebody's entire culture to gussy up your own.  I don't want anyone to ever get the idea that I'm some kind of Jew for Jesus, or Jesus for Jews, or whatever it would be, and that I'm just biding my time before I start handing out pamphlets.

To make a long story short, I decided that Purim is my favorite Jewish holiday.  Hanukkah is such a pedestrian, obvious choice, and I'm too much of a punk-rock contrarian to go with that.  Purim doesn't have a whole lot of deep meaning to it, like Hanukkah does; Purim, for the most part, is just about fun.  I don't feel like I'm stepping on too many toes in enjoying it -- that is, I enjoy it for what it is, I don't feel like I'm missing too much of the experience for not being a Jew, and I'm pretty sure my being there isn't ruining anyone else's experience of it either.

I occasionally search out different kinds of fabric prints, online and in stores, and it's no surprise that there's tons of choices for Hanukkah.  But I was completely surprised to find that there's NO Purim fabric out there. Come on -- kids (and adults!) dress up in costumes for Purim: no one's ever gone against the grain and put out a Purim collection?  Well, I thought the main characters in the story would make cute Japanese-esque cartoons, so I drew them up and laid them out in my collection of Purim fabrics.  I think it's hip, it's cute, and it's absolutely in the carnival spirit of the holiday itself (at least as far as I've experienced it).  No one's "bit" and purchased some yardage yet, but I haven't advertised it much until now either.

Purim character cheat-sheet:
Esther is the comely lass, Mordechai is in blue, King Ahasuerus is the kingly fellow, and Haman, the villain, is the lecherous one in purple.

(Fabric available for purchase here)

So here's the best part: Temple Israel does their Purimspiel every year as a parody of an appropriate pop cultural phenomenon of the time.  Last year it was Glee.  This year... oh, this year...

Sunday,
March 4
10:30 a.m.
'The Muppets Take Purim' Shpiel and Service 

Grab the entire family and throw on your costumes for a Purim service and Megillah reading, led by our clergy. You won’t want to miss this Muppet filled celebration!
Sunday,
March 4
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Family Purim Carnival
Join us at the 2012 TIPTY Purim Carnival for food, games and prizes. It’s a treat for the whole family! Tickets for games and food can be purchased the day of the carnival. 


Seriously wettin' my pants.

Predictions for the Purimspiel, assuming they're basing it on the most recent movie:
-- The oil-baron from the movie, Tex Richman, will fill the Haman role.
-- I'm not sure who the king will be, but possibly Rashida Jones' TV producer character will do.
-- Kermit will be the Mordechai character, and will be called "Mordekermit."
-- Miss Piggy will be Esther; I'm not sure what her parody name will be, but there will be kosher jokes.

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