This year I was invited to a Purim party held in London’s Stables Market, organised by the Chabad Rabbi for Kentish Town and Camden, seen below and appropriately for Camden Town sporting a fuchsia-coloured punk mohawk wig.
The Jewish Festival of Purim is a celebratory story of survival over annihilation. The Megillah records the story of the salvation of the Jews in the Persian Empire during the 4th Century BC. During Purim, the story of Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia who originally conceals her identity and also succeeds in thwarting genocide of her people is read from a scroll known as a Megillah. It is customary and even encouraged for the congregation to boo, hiss and generally make a noise whenever the name of Haman, the baddy in the story, is mentioned. Purim’s carnivalesque aspects involve masquerading in fancy dress.
Below, on the left, musician Tom Morley. On the right Rabbi Yossi Baitz reads from a Megillah:
Rabbi Baitz had arranged for Tom Morley, founding member and original drummer of the band Scritti Politti, to organise a drum circle. I took a close up of his shirt cuff which had a musical notation print, as his hand rested on the djembe drum:
In terms of making a noise the past I’ve waved a little wooden or plastic handheld noisemaker called a Purim grogger or gragger, but a full on drum circle was way more cathartic and enjoyable.
Here are some photos from the event focussing on kids and adults with percussion instruments:
I never underestimate the percussive power of a handclap, plus I found this man’s yarmulke and mini mouse ear combo very endearing:
Below, Tom Morley on Djembe:
Purim Princess on percussion:
Lollipops and Drums: