Anyone else have a bit of a pit in their stomach when they think about Purim this year? We do!
This time last year, we had just started to hear about the spread of COVID-19 and wonder if we should be worried. As synagogues prepped their Purim games and baked their hamantaschen, rumors were spreading about school closings and infections close to home, tainting an otherwise joyful holiday. As Purim approaches one year later, it’s like no time has passed but everything has changed.
We all have a “last” memory before the world completely shifted - the last time we shook hands with a stranger, the last time we shared a communal meal, the last time we walked into a room full of people unmasked and unbothered. For many of us, Purim was the last “normal” event, and the fact that Purim is once again upon us is a reminder of exactly how much time has passed and how much is different. Our Purim shpiels will be on Zoom this year. Purim Carnivals have been replaced by Purim drive-bys, and there will be no rowdy 21+ Purim parties in bars or homes. It’s hard to imagine ever celebrating a “normal” Purim again without remembering exactly what this time of year represents.
It’s difficult. And yet, we are people of resilience and the Jewish calendar waits for nobody. To the educators who are pouring their souls into creating a meaningful holiday experience when they themselves are feeling a bit traumatized, thank you for doing the work you do to put joy into our holiday celebrations. To the families who are baking hamentaschen over Zoom, wreaking havoc in your kitchens to create positive memories after an exhausting year, we salute you. And to everyone who doesn’t have it in them to do one more holiday over Zoom, or get it together to send out mishloach manot in a way that is sanitary and manageable...we see you and we’re with you. We will once again have joyful, unabashedly loud and chaotic holiday celebrations, and they will be more glorious than we can even imagine. Until then, we wish you a chag sameach, and a Purim that brings more light than darkness.