I received a request for a customised guest book for Keren, who was having her Bat Mitzvah party on the evening of Purim. The festival of Purim is probably the most entertaining of all the Jewish holidays, whether you're in Israel or abroad. Everybody gets to have fun, dress up in fancy costumes and consume lots of junk food. What a great day to celebrate your Bat Mitzvah!
On Purim we are required to hear the reading of the Book of Esther. The book of Esther is commonly known as the Megillah, which means scroll. It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle groggers (noisemakers) whenever the name of Haman, the villain of the Purim story, is mentioned in the Megillah reading. The purpose of this custom is to "blot out the name of Haman."
We are also commanded to eat, drink and be merry, and to send out gifts of food and drink. The sending of gifts of food and drink is referred to as Mishloach Manot (literally 'sending out portions') and a common treat is hamentaschen (literally 'Haman's pockets'), triangular fruit-filled cookies which are supposed to represent Haman's three-cornered hat. Because Keren was celebrating her Bat Mitzvah on Purim I included little papercuts of the aforementioned groggers and hamentaschen on the cover and inside pages of her book.
My customer told me that Keren and her parents absolutely loved the book, and that many other guests commented about it too. It was quite a last-minute commission but, when I receive such great feedback like that, I am always glad to have taken on the job!
As in previous years my boys wanted homemade costumes. The mini-industry that springs up at this time of year can prove expensive but fortunately my kids are happy to rely on Mum. Superheroes, pirates and princesses are all the rage but we went with Erno Rubik's Rubik's Cube, below, and a television remote control (youngest son's best friend was the TV!).
I hope that those of you who celebrated Purim had a great day!