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February Message from Rabbi Louis Zivic D.D.

In the 1970’s, Eugene Borowitz, a Reform Movement philosopher, wrote a book entitled Masks Jews Wear. As we approach the holiday of Purim both children and adults have the opportunity and obligation to wear costumes. We officially acknowledge that we are in disguise. One of the points of Borowitz’s book is that Jews, especially non fundamentalist Jews, wear masks all of the time. We pick a face to show people. We know about some of them; “I’m not going to cry, I’m going to be an adult,” or “this is the time my face will show how much I really care for my parents,” or the faces of the good father and the good mother that may hide something darker beneath. The list of possible faces that we “keep in a jar by the door” is endless and among them are our Jewish faces. There is the Jewish face we wear among fellow Jews, a few variations of Jewish faces that we keep for our non Jewish neighbors or relatives. And let’s not forget the Jewish faces that we show to Jewish officialdom. Originally, Jews were to wear the costumes of Purim characters, but I’ve lived to see Yoda, Barney, Cookie Monster and others on this mardi gras of holidays as well. My question is this: on Purim will the mask that we choose be one that hides our true self or one that reveals it?

B’shalom. Chag Purim samayach!

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