I graduated from JTS in NY back in 1991 and I have to say that my proudest holiday numbers are about Purim — the amount of folks reveling in the Purim vibe is up there with the numbers of davenners com-ing together on Yom Kippur. CSI is the little engine that could. Quite amazing to hoot & holler in a full sanctuary, graggers whirring, shpielers hamming it up. And to be live-streaming all this madcap brilliance, how cool is that?! Truth to tell, we need to livestream shabbat and every other significant community moment — because people in Atlanta and Milledgeville and places farther out want and need this power-ful connection to our kehilla. Look at us, stumbling into the 21st century! Woohoo!
Our keenly observant sages made much the Yom Hakippurim — Purim connection. You might ask: how can these two entirely unrelated holidays have a meaningful connection?
So here it is — The classic Yom Kippur vibe is about personal accountability, about ‘approaching the throne’ painfully aware of our failings (Avinu Malkeinu, the repeated confession of transgressions). The mood is somber and sober. At the opposite pole of the calendar lies Purim, the holiday that acknowl-edges God as a hidden presence, a tip of the hat to the tables being turned on our foes, a flirtation with ‘our hearts made merry with wine,’ blurred lines between Haman and Mordechai in crazy world where our fate can turn on a roll of the dice. In strange way Yom Hakippurim and Purim end up balancing each other out. Truth to tell, they are equally powerful responses to the world in which we ride the currents of our fate.