(Margarita Korol)

A central component of Purim observance is, of course, the raucous, collective reading of the Book of Esther. That tradition has evolved into a virtual industry of theatrical storytelling events, or Purimspiels. This year, Vox Tablet decided to jump on the bandwagon. We commissioned four young comedians and/or comedy writers—Josh Gondelman (of recent Modern Seinfeld fame), Emily Heller, Rob Kutner, and Judy Batalion—to share personal stories related to one of several Purim-related themes. With guest host Rebecca Soffer as emcee, here are their stories, which take us on ill-advised cross-country road trips, deposit us in awkward dinner conversations, and remind us of the many ways one can hide one’s identity, or re-discover it. Music for today’s podcast is courtesy of the klezmer band Isle of Klezbos. [Running time: 23:11.]

Listen to individual stories here:

Josh Gondelman, “The Kindness of Strangers”

Emily Heller, “Bait and Switch”

Rob Kutner, “Skiing With Jesus”

Judy Batalion, “Chicken”