by Dr. Abe Sherer
I just finished compiling my Mishloach Manot list, it's become a favorite Purim tradition, and the list gets bigger each year! I can hardly wait for the 'goodies' I'll get this year. With my restricted diet, some things are given away - but there are many to enjoy. I, in turn, enjoy knowing that my friends are enjoying the favor of a friend. Purim is one big happy Jewish holiday, when we imbibe, dance, sing and laugh. Why not, then, send a small gift- and what better gift than food!
Closing my eyes, I see the old South End streets with my friends marching to Purim celebrations in costume. The ever-present Queen Esthers harassed by the evil mustachioed Hamans, the worthy Mordechais, looking like Kirk Douglas, the kingly Ahashverosh with the false wig and beard, all going to their synagogues for the Megillah reading. I'm sure this year, and years to come, many will also dress as astronauts to honor our fallen Israeli hero.
Back then, we had cowboys (Tom Mix and Buck Jones), Ben Gurions and eye-patched Moshe Dayans. Now we see Arafats, Saddams and Bin Ladens new villains to hiss and boo! I wouldn't be surprised to see Michael Jackson dressed as Arafat or Madonna as Queen Esther.
My eyes are still closed and I see my zayde and his cohorts drinking Slivovitz, dancing and prancing, and I hear the noise when Haman's name is pronounced. Oy Vey! What noise! Those days, we had homemade groggers. Ma gave us an old pot with a spoon, wooden "clappers" were good, but a can filled with nails was the best. That was a noisemaker!
On holidays, there was and is the food. I can still taste Zuckman's Bakery's old style hamantashen,- what a treat! As a purist, I insist on mohn hamantashen: poppy seeds, honey and raisins inside a three-cornered cake, lightly browned and indescribably delicious. Prunes and apricot are okay, but to me, nothing replaces mohn! Oy! I can still taste them now!