Kevin John Heller brings us McCain on the Jewish Holiday Purim.
Really, about all you can say to that is, Oy vey.
I grew up with Purim being a lot like Halloween. It was child centered, had lots of candy, costumes, pageantry and sometimes a play reenacting the story. It is also a holiday of disorder, like Saturnalia, Setsuban or the Halloween Day parades that have grown popular in major US cities. If you are an adult, you are supposed to drink yourself so drunk you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. None of that Passover drink four glasses and yak all night.
Sure, the holidays have different origin stories. One revolved around spiking a plot against the Jews in ancient Persia, an otherwise rather tolerant society. The other had something to do with restless souls the night before All Saints’ Day, though I’ll bet that it was actually a pre-Christian holiday that got swallowed by the church. (The Christians aren’t alone in this kind of thing. A Passover seder is clearly a Greek symposium what with the formal questions, disquisitions, measured wine drinking and reclining. Don’t let anyone tell you that their tradition is more authentic just because they picked a stopping point for their religion).
Right…Purim celebrations can include dressing up like Esther and the other people in to the story, and wearing masks and costumes. Very kid-centered indeed. In fact, one of the local Purim celebrations scheduled in one of the young-and-artsy neighborhoods here in Philly has put flyers up on telephone poles that advertise a masquerade party that ties in to (yes) NOLA. Ah, the porous borders of American culture!
McCain is the most pro-Israel candidate, supported by Joe Lieberman:
What difference if he knows the story of Purim or not?
The story makes pretty clear that he was just repeating what Lieberman told him. Anyway, this story on McCain, from this week’s Jewish Journal, is very interesting: http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=19113
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