Hebrew School

It’s Purim
March 20, 2008, 8:08 am
Filed under: records | Tags: , ,

I went to see a friend’s band last night in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a new band, and this was their first show. Congratulating my friend after their set was over, I pointed out to my friend (also Jewish) that perhaps it was kismet that their first gig had occurred on Purim (which began at sundown last night). “What?! It’s Purim??!” he exclaimed. Then one of his bandmates asked if this was the holiday of repentance, where sins were cast off.

In my mind, Yom Kippur is the day where Purim is atoned for. The holiday of Purim is a costume masquerade where Jews are actually commanded by the Talmud to drink until they cannot tell the difference between Mordechai (a hero of the Purim story) and Haman (the villain). In the Hasidic neighborhoods of Brooklyn on this day, one can see men staggering around drunk at three in the afternoon, and kids dressed up as not only the traditional characters, but also the likes of Michael Jackson, Hannah Montana, et al.

At any rate, perhaps you can drink enough wine, or beer, or Slivovitz to appreciate this awful-enough-to-be-great Purim children’s record which was lent to me a while ago.

This record, like the Chanukah record I wrote about last December, is credited to Shirley R. Cohen. I also have yet another record which bears her name. I’m starting to think that Shirley Cohen was no more than a serial pen name of the day, a Franklin W. Dixon of children’s Jewish audio if you will, churning out hastily-produced swill to please a mass audience.

Then again, I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who might remember this record fondly, connecting it to their childhood with more meaningful associations which go far beyond the sum of its parts.

At any rate, have a happy Purim, everyone, and make sure to perform your scriptural duties with all due solemnity.


3 Comments so far
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I grew up with all three Music Box Albums. I was just singing “I’m a jester…” to my Rabbi over Purim. He wanted to hear the album and I went looking for it in my album collection only to find it wasn’t there. I emailed my sister and she admitted having taken it when she left our parents house.

She still has it, in a box somewhere. I’ve tried you links, and they don’t appear to be working. Is there any chance you could send me new links or the .mp3s of the albums?

Comment by Sue-Ellen Schatzer

Here’s the whole album at the Florida Atlantic U. Jewish sound archives. Enjoy!

Comment by David

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