Dress Up Or Die Out

Haman is alive and well in America.

Assimilation is his modern-day gallow and Jews are just rushing to hang themselves on it.

This gallow is trendy, after all. It is sexy and adulated and how can you argue with the noble allure of universal love & acceptance of all peoples.

Assimilation is quite simply the world’s stealthiest PC Jewish genocide machine.

The Pew Report spelled it out in all sorts of statistical horror. A shocking 72% of non-Orthodox Jews are intermarried. (Orthodox Jews only 2%. Props to them.) Thus 58% of America’s 6.8 million Jews are already intermarried. Of those 3.9 million, almost half of them are not even bothering to raise their children Jewish. That’s nearly 1.8 million ‘Jewish’ children being raised in utter Jewish apathy.

Whole genetic lines have already been wiped out before our sleepy eyes. These lines, mind you, marched straight from Sinai through the shtetls – survived pogroms and expulsions and Holocausts to persevere Jewishly for millennia. Until, that is, they strutted onto the American shores and simply blended away into oblivion. Millions of ancestral lines just quietly came to America to die.

TS Eliot said the world ends “not with a bang but a whimper.” So too by the Jews. Jewish dis-continuity in our era isn’t happening through the nightmarish bang of a Holocaust, but rather through the whimpering ‘meh’ of assimilation. Cue the shrugging shoulders of an entire generation.

With every disinterested millennial wandering off into something more exciting – Haman wins.

I mean, we could just dress up Haman as a Cantor who sings bad Shabbas music in a really lame shul and that would be more effective than a thousand genocide attempts.

The Jewish world is quite simply being bored to death.

But there is an antidote, my worried friends.

It’s called Purim.

It’s called partying. Hard.

It’s called hard-core, soul-stirred, transcendent ecstatic Jewish partying.

Judaism NEEDS a party. Bad. And not just any party. But a meaning-rich psycho-spiritually expansive party.

And I’m not talking about Purim carnivals for your kids, yall.

Yes, I loved them too. Loved my 7 year-old rhinestone rendition of Vashti the Proto-Feminist Rebel. Heck, it was a Jewish kid’s version of Halloween in the spring time on a-random-Sunday-afternoon-somewhere-near-Easter and I cherish the memories, I really do Mom and Dad and Rabbi Gold.

But that saccharin memory is precisely the problem. – Purim was little more than a plastic trinket at a kid’s carnival.

I don’t recall a single adult doing anything but standing on the sidelines of another cutesy Jewy activity you do for your kids…and only for your kids.

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You might argue that it’s better than nothing.

But it’s not. It’s just misleading. Dangerously misleading. Those carnivals gave the illusion that you are in fact ensuring Jewish continuity through a hamentashen, while actually you are consigning it to a eye-rolling gag-me-with-a-groger once that cute kid turns 15.

And this is the thing. Force feeding our youngsters a pre-school-sized Judaism ain’t gonna  preserve Jewish continuity. Let the Pew Report be our wisest advisor. This whole Jewish trip is going to apathy  itself into oblivion if people don’t wake up and start to dress up. That’s right. Dress up already. Get ridiculous. Get serious about getting ridiculous.

Party – hard – all you Jewish hand-wringing adults. Be wild and rambunctious. Be fascinated. Be turned on and tripped out by Torah.

A thousand Federation meetings strategizing Jewish continuity won’t amount to beans if YOU don’t get drunk this Purim. And not just decorously tipsy on the sidelines. I mean sloppy messy out-of-your-mind ‘ad de lo yada’ drunk.

Have some frickin’ Jewish fun already.

And you too – you tight-laced Orthodox crew. Start taking your frivolity seriously! Have some religiously ordained fun. Break out of the OrthoBox and smoke a fruickin joint this Purim. Bring down a vaster consciousness into the dalet amot of Jewish law.

Because in the vacuum of wildly engaging Jewish experience, apathy sets in and Haman grins.

I mean, what’s the point of Jewish continuity anyway if it’s just a monotonous burden shlepped out over generations? That kind of Jewish experience is simply an insult to our magnificent tradition.

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about then Dear G!D please book a ticket and come visit us for Purim. There will be a thousand freakishly-costumed mythological creatures on my street in a few short days. It will be a Burning Man meets Judean city street rave.  It will be deep and mind-altering and worth being born for.

Our children will watch us dress up and get drunk and they will yearn for a time when their adult Jewish expression will be so wild and funky and free. They will grow into their Judaism and will never dream of leaving it. Not for Christmas trees and Easter eggs. Not for even the loveliest of universal dreams.

They will cherish it and uphold it because it has thrilled them and gifted them with wonder and joy.

Why would anyone want to discontinue that kind of thing?

And here is where we meet the truth of truths, my friends. Because actually, you can not not have Jewish continuity. Because Judaism is its own magical mystical force. It is G!d’s very own poetry. It is G!d’s own bated breath that rests in our mouths and enlivens our limbs.

It will prevail, whether through you or some other avenue.

As Mordechai tweeted to Esther, ‘Who knows. perhaps it was for this that you were made Queen.’

So, please, take your partying seriously this Purim.

The Jewish people is yours to save.

— Let’s feast.