I know what you’re thinking: It’s Purim, all I wanna do is go get sloshed in a cool-looking costume, but here we are again, having to read articles that effectively ruin my harmless, innocent fun with these themes of #PurimNotPrejudice, just like last year. Well, yes, but no.
Yes, as in, of course you should consider deeply the implications of a costume that involves, say, painting your face black; but also, no, as in, this article, instead of focusing solely on what not to wear, will provide you with some last-minute non-kippah-related advice so you can get your costume on, and get it on well.
Medical doctor? Yes. Witch doctor? No. Lawyers, policemen, firemen—all great. Geishas, mariachi musicians, “harem girls”—not so much. Prostitutes? Inappropriate. Generally speaking, the only cultural exceptions to this rule are those occupations that belong to the same culture or ethnicity as you do. Then again, you still might want to stay away from that, at least until after this election cycle. There’s probably some rabid Trump supporter out there who wants to “Make Cowboys Great Again.”
Roman gladiator. Greek senators. Brendan Fraser’s career. All up for grabs. #PurimNotPrejudice isn’t about being “overly PC,” it’s about not offending, insulting, or ridiculing (groups of) people. If there are no people around to be offended, insulted, or ridiculed then you’re “technically” in the clear, but only you have to live with you. Also, if you’re in the habit of offending, insulting, or ridiculing dead people, you’re “technically” a jackass.
Something Actually Jewish
This is, y’know, a religious holiday, not just Jewish Halloween. Like, the entire reason behind costumes being adopted into Purim custom is for us to hide our true selves in order to emulate how God’s presence is hidden behind the scenes in the Megillah. So, FYI, if you look sexy in that French maid outfit or cowboy-in-cut-offs costume, then rock it. Just remember, it’s not particularly hiding anything [wink].
Chag Purim Sameach + #PurimNotPrejudice.
MaNishtana is the pseudonym of Shais Rishon, an Orthodox African-American Jewish writer, speaker, rabbi, and author of Thoughts From A Unicorn. His latest book is Ariel Samson, Freelance Rabbi.