Monday, March 05, 2007

Purim with goyim, and the rest of the weekend

Had a Purim party on Saturday night, for the first time ever. Just looked at the Jewish calendar and figured that a) since Purim should be celebrated with lots of drink, hamantaschen-named pastry which in one of its forms is a very close relative of joulutorttu, and rude songs, it would fit in with Finnish culture rather seamlesslly, and b) the fact that it starts on Saturday night this year is clearly a message from god saying that it should be celebrated with a proper party.

The only problem with celebrating a Jewish holiday with a party where I am the only Jew (the only other Jewish friend couldn't make it) is that I am supposed to be the one who knows how to do it properly, and I generally have no clue. I mean, I know how it is usually done, but I have no idea how to do it properly. In the US or anywhere where there are a lot of Jews it's no problem, because you go to the nearest Jewish bakery, buy a lot of hamantaschen, go to a liquor store, buy a lot of booze, put on some Halloween clothes, invite people over, and voila, you have a party. But here in the wild North men are real men, women are real women and real Jews bake their own hamantaschen. Or produce a lot of black smoke and cause the fire alarm to go off at 1:30 in the morning, as the case might be.

The first attempt at baking hamantaschen resulted in the aforementioned fire alarm and the traditional American dance with a broom under it. My soul silently cried out to the Jewish people everywhere, and the Jewish people, in the form of one small genealogy list that I am on, responded with a hamantaschen recipe. As a .jpg of an open recipe book perched upon the biggest hamantasch in Jewish history. In Hebrew.

I figured that I should better consult Google for recipes, and with the help of the Lord and Google (mostly Google though) managed to make a semi-decent amount of the damn things, swearing all the time that our ancestors should have invented an easier pastry.

The party went very well (thanks everybody!) and luckily nobody quizzed me very much on anything religious. My friends already know that I am not the font of all knowledge on the holy books. Or, let's face it, the font of any knowledge on the holy books. Usually all the interesting info on the religious stuff comes from the two theologist friends of mine, but neither of them was able to make it to the party.

We pondered the following things: if on Purim Jews celebrate getting out from under Persian authorities, then what do the Iranian Jews celebrate? And if on Passover Jews say "next year in Jerusalem", then what do the Jerusalem Jews say? My friends suggested that they say "next year also in Jerusalem". My mom said "bugger if I know, send an email to the Jerusalem relatives and ask them".

Anyway: I had fun, hopefully the rest of people in the party did too, the hamantaschen got eaten, and now I found an extra scarf. Two scarves, actually, but I already found the owner of one of them.

Note to self: apple juice in the keyboard is not a good thing.

Another note to self: letting drunk people give you a massage results in unexpected sore places.

Note to everybody: lingonberry juice and cream liqueur do not mix well, judging from the expression of the people who mixed them and drank the result. Hope they did not remember the taste the next morning.

Visited Maija and JP on Sunday. They warned me not to make Maija laugh lest she gives birth right there and then, but we had a good time anyway and somehow she managed to laugh without giving birth. When she finally does have the new baby I'll ask her what was the last joke that started the labor.

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