Today is November 19, 2019 -

Purim in Passaic

I have been plugging Purim as one of my two favorite holidays for a few years. Unfortunately, with the world tragedies that I have been discussing in this weekly writing, I did not get the chance to plug this past week’s festivities. I hope that everyone had the opportunity to enjoy somewhere.

I had a new Purim experience yesterday. A niece arrived in Newark from Israel and I drove to Passaic to pick her up from other relatives. Passaic has a large Orthodox Jewish community, which was celebrating Purim in full force. Hundreds of costumed children littered the streets. Men were very actively fulfilling the mitzvah of “ad shelo yada.” Women were preparing festive meals for dozens.

I arrived at a home for the pickup. There were at least 30 kids on the front lawn. The front door was wide-open. I stepped inside and was grabbed by a few men for dancing. As the only sober one in the group, it was a little much for me. I made my way to the kitchen where the matriarch was plating food.

“You’re going to Albany? What about the se’udah (festive meal)? Let me pack you up some food.” She must think that we don’t have food in northeastern New York, because I have enough chicken left over to serve my whole family for Shabbat dinner tonight.

“Albany is so far. You’re going all the way back tonight?”

“Given the rush-hour traffic, I’ll bet that I could get back to Albany faster than you could get to Borough Park.” This boggled the mind, and of course, I was probably the only one in the house who could legally drive anyway.

Amazing experience. If you haven’t made plans for next Purim yet…

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