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Esther’s Donkey Purim Spiel 2019 [Mar. 13th, 2019|11:35 pm]
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As usual, the Pr1ss Journal gets dusted off for my annual Purim Play, available only here on Livejournal, or in-person performances.

Esther’s Donkey
Purim Spiel 2019
Seattle Washington

Dramatis Personae
NARRATOR – A Spiel Maker ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ESTHER – A Princess with the mostest ------------------------------------------------------------ ________________
KING ELVIS-BLUE-SHOE-WEAR-US – A Middling Musician ------------------------------- ________________
The Royal Donkey – Hee Haw! ---------------------------------------------------------------------_________________
BOUDRIAN – A mostly mute Donkey Trainer -------------------------------------------------- ________________
MAMA-DE-CHAI – A lively Yoga teacher -------------------------------------------------------- ________________
The Gimmel-Toes – Groupies? Fans? Who Knows? ---- __________ and ___________and ___________
HAm-AND-EGGS – From This, You Don’t Want to Nibble ---------------------------------- ________________
PROPS – Donkey Treats! Now in Gluten-Free.

Written by Priss
Based on an Original concept by The Megillah-ist

Accompaniment Provided by

Additional Acting and Singing Provided by

Esther’s Donkey Purim Spiel 2019
Like the Tigress and the Euphrates flow
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things, were meant to be.
A long time ago,( or perhaps far in the future) in the land of Tennessee a young woman named Esther was growing up on the wrong side of Interstate-5 next door to her Mama-de-Chai’s Yoga and Pilates studio. She felt expected to follow in the flexible footsteps of her ancestors, and yet was mysteriously drawn to all things four-footed.
Mama-de-Chai: Esther, will you be able to teach yoga classes this morning? I have some meetings that I’d like to attend.
Esther: Of course Mama-de-Chai! Then I will head over to the stables this afternoon. There is much riding and mucking out to attend to.
NARRATOR: Across town in a castle called Graceland, Elvis-Blue-Shoe-Wear-us was holding court. His mostly female admirers the Gimmel-Toes hovered around him.
G1: Oh King Elvis, your shoes are adorable!
G2: Oh King Elvis, your cloak is magnificent!
G3: Oh King Elvis, you’re just the best king ever!
King Elvis: You’re the best party dolls ever!
And I’m Just a Hunka-Hunka Burning Love.

NARRATOR: Later that day Elvis-Blue-Shoe-Wear-us met with his shady business manager, a man called Ham-and-Eggs. (Grogger time!)
Ham-and-Eggs: My Royal King, your songs are all being down-loaded by fans from websites such as King-sta gram and Soup-tube! Record sales are now something from ancient history.
King Elvis: Ham-and-Eggs, I need to my income to Rush In. Without it, Graceland Castle will fall apart and start to look like Heartbreak Hotel!
Ham-and-Eggs: Have you ever considered branching out into other fields? Your white horse named George Washington might do well as a racer?
Ham-and-Eggs: (To the audience) My Plan is to secretly lame George Washington, the King’s white horse and then bet against him! (dun dun dun!) I’ll be rich! The Gimmel-Toes will flock to my side, and Graceland Castle will be re-named Ham-and-Egg Castle!!!
NARRATOR: George Washington, the King’s white horse began to win races near and far. Soon Ham-and-Eggs was called in again to speak with the King.
King Elvis: With you at my side, my fame and fortune has grown. You’re a regular Good Luck Charm. How could I express my appreciation?
Ham-and-Eggs: I would like to ride down Interstate 5 on your royal white horse so that all will know that the King has me in his favor.
King Elvis: I will schedule a gratitude parade. Wise Men will say, this is a person whom the King desires to honor.

NARRATOR: In some way, and we don’t know exactly how she did it, Esther caught wind of the evil plan of Ham-and-Eggs as she went about her chores in the Tennessee stable. Esther arranged for George Washington, the King’s white horse, to travel to Kentucky to begin training for a big race.
When the day came for the parade, instead of a white horse, the Royal Donkey and his trainer Boudrian showed up at the Freeway on-ramp. Ham-and-Eggs refused to set foot in the donkey cart and walked away in a huff.
Donkey: That was very rude! My rides are every bit as wonderful as George Washington the white horse gives. Even more wonderful!
Boudrian: (Nods) Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!
Audience: (Nodding)Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!
Donkey: You know, after a day like this, I really deserve a Donkey Treat.
Boudrian: (Shakes his head no.) Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!
Audience: (Shaking heads no.) Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!
Donkey: OK, OK, I’ll sing the song.
Keep your Donkey extra sweet
Give them Donkey-Treat
Boudrian: Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw! (Hands over a Donkey-Treat)
(Audience repeats the song)
Keep your Donkey extra sweet
Give them Donkey-Treat
Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!
Narrator: Ham-and-Eggs was so angry that his subtle plan had been foiled, that he raised a rabble and attempted to invade Graceland Castle.
Mama-de-Chai: It’s Now or Never, we must defend Graceland.
Narrator: Mama-de-Chai and Esther, whose yoga studio was actually a school of Krav Maga, already had their students in place to put down the uprising. Ham-and-Eggs and his ten sons were soon Dancing to the Jailhouse Rock, Dancing to the Jailhouse Rock

Afterwards, Esther led the crowd in a song of thanks that their lives had been spared.

Ani Ma'amin D Bm A G
Priss Prisstofferson

Stories of heroes
Who lived long ago
Create inspiration
For how we live today
If we aspire to a Messianic age
Or to do mitzvoth right now
Our faith is what gives us the strength to go on
Our community is alive

Ani ma'amin
b'emunah sh'leimah
Ani ma'amin
b'viat hamashiach
Ani ma'amin
b'emunah sh'leimah
We remember the heroes
Ani ma'amin

Remembering Esther
Purim 2019

King Elvis: Esther, after all that we have been through together, I can’t help Falling in Love with You.
Esther: I feel that way too. I’ll Let You Be, My Teddy Bear.
Narrator: Going forward, instead of pop music or horse racing, our royal couple concentrated on their Donkey-Treat bakery. And so, in closing we invite you and all of your donkeys to slap on the royal feedbag and enjoy a treat.
Keep your Donkey extra sweet
Give them Donkey-Treat
Keep your Donkey extra sweet
Give them Donkey-Treat

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PGA LJ Yippie eye yay [Mar. 5th, 2017|11:41 am]
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Could my eljay blog be alive? On Friday I posted the Purim play that I wrote for 2017. It will be performed next Friday. I'll be in the role of Announcer 1. Plus, I'll be director and costumer and prop manager and vocalist. My daughter Maddy will be the ukulele orchestra, and my son Zbig, will probably be the king. The rest of the roles are up for grabs. The script is super secret until performance night. No plot spoiling rehearsals will happen. After the show, perhaps I shall unlock the post script, so that the world beyond the Livejournal friends list may find it in searches.
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Purim Golf Association [Mar. 3rd, 2017|02:51 pm]
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ANNOUNCER 1: This is the PGA! Welcome to the Ancient Persian Gulf Association 18 hole classic contest.
ANNOUNCER 2: OK, I get that this is Ancient Persia. Now, did you mean to say "Gulf" or "Golf"?
A1: Golf, of course! We're here at the Inglemoor Golf course in the Kenmore neighborhood outside of Shushan Persia. Biggy Bigthan and Terry Teresh are squaring off to see who will win the highly coveted Green Jacket.
A2: Do people in Ancient Persia dress in jackets?
A1: OK, let's say that they are squaring off to see who will win the vastly sought after Green Bathrobe. Oh Spokes-model! Please show us the bathrobe.
(Modeling ensues)
A2: Meanwhile, during the golf match, inside the clubhouse, King Achashveyrosh and his Posse were partying like rock stars.
(The King and Posse are holding fancy cups and a large microphone)
(They sing)
Yo ho, yo ho, a golfer’s life for me
Yo ho, yo ho, a golfer’s life for me
We rule the world as all can see from Egypt to Parée
And every day we watch them play, there's such variety
We're never done, it's constant fun, as you can clearly see
Yo ho, yo ho, a golfer’s life for me

KING A: You know my name, Achat-vey-rosh, it means number one and the top of everything.
POSSE: That's amazing!
KING: Or maybe it means something else, I don't know I could be wrong, or I could be right. They say that it means number one and the top of everything. Are you having a good time, my Posse Peeps?
POSSE: I'm having a great time! This is the best party ever.

KING: I'm having a great time too, but I think that this party needs something more. It could really use some dancing girls.
POSSE: (Shaking with fear) King Achashveyrosh, the Dancing Persons Union is out on strike.
KING: They are what???
POSSE: The dancing girls are away for their annual retreat in the woods where they are practicing their art so that they may better entertain you.
A1: But the King knew another dancing girl. He whipped out his iPhone to telephone his wife Vashti. Little did he know, but she was part of the political revolution.
VASHTI: (At another location, gavels her meeting to order) Welcome to Dancers United for BEtter Dollars Union - Local number 18 - abbreviated as DU-BE-DU 18. We have read the minutes and are ready to move on to new business.
(Her fellow dancers applaud.) Excuse me just a minute, the palace is calling me.
VASHTI: No dahling, I'm 100 miles away on Mount Rainier. I'm dancing in the moonlight with my doo-bee-doo ladies. I'll see you on Monday when I get back.
A1: The King's Posse commiserated with him about the absence of his wife Vashti, and they began to mull over the concept of replacing her.
A2: And the party continued, but without any dancing.
Scene 2
MORDECAI: Esther! I hate it when you watch those staged reality shows. They will rot your brain.
ESTHER: Uncle Mordecai, sometimes these shows have a deeper meaning. I can explain it to you if you are interested.
MORDECAI: I'm always interested in learning new things, please proceed.
ESTHER: This show is called Khloe Kardashian's Royal Body Boot Camp. –the KKRBBC- Young women are being recruited to perfect their appearance and talents until they reach a royal level.
MORDECAI: And when they reach this royal level of fitness, is there some higher purpose?
ESTHER: The king is looking for a new companion. He will be looking over the contestants for someone who is beautiful and entertaining. I’m considering trying out.
MORDECAI: To be truly entertaining, it takes someone who is also smart. This sounds like a worthwhile project!
A2: Esther entered the KKRBBC. At first, she was commuting from home, but then she was asked to move into the palace.
A1: Esther didn’t want to eat the Palace low-carb non-kosher diet. She brought along a doctor’s note explaining that she had been prescribed a vegetarian diet that included pita bread and hummus. This was accepted, and she moved in.
A2: When the day of the contest came along, Esther was chosen as the King’s favorite. She won his heart by demonstrating her talents both musical and athletic.
(Esther HaMalkah Song) http://pr1ss.livejournal.com/177384.htmlhttp://pr1ss.livejournal.com/177384.html
A1: Mordecai came to the palace every day. He waited outside the front gate and Esther came out to visit him when she had a spare minute.
A2: One day while Mordecai was waiting at the gate, the same famous golfers who had been in the tournament were there too. They were talking treason.
TERRY: Biggy, I think that we should take ovah da golf club.
BIGGY: Terry, I’ve always wanted my own golf club! Let’s do it.
A1: Mordecai listened to their plan, and sent a note to the King with all of the details. They were prosecuted, and the golf course was saved!
Scene 3
A1: The King’s cabinet included his party posse, and also many advisors. Some of his advisors wanted to make all of the policies and have the King just act as a mouth piece. Perhaps the scariest advisor among the bunch was named ………………. Rasputin!
A2: Rasputin? I’ve been patiently waiting here with my grogger ready and you give me Rasputin??? You know that Rasputin isn’t a grogger-approved name!
A1: OK. Well he did have some other unpleasant cabinet members, and one that you might be interested in was known as Haman.
(Much Grogger noise)
A2: Finally!
A1: Haman was determined to become the King’s best buddy, bestie-bro, best friend forever, bosom boy, banana republican….
A2: I get it!
A1: Haman practiced drinking from a fancy cup, and not gagging on the taste of Sizzurp. He cultivated an appreciation for Ukulele music. He even learned to understand the rules of Gulf, I mean Golf. He became Posse-perfect.
HAMAN: My Royal King, your subjects may need a unifying cause to rally around. This will increase their support for you.
KING: I’m listening.
HAMAN: I find that bigotry is always useful for nation-building.
KING: Haman, I thought that bigotry was old-fashioned and outta style.
Haman: If it’s done in the name of safety and security it can still work.
KING: Does it have any other benefits besides public relations?
HAMAN: It sure does! You get to take all of the wealth of your newly disenfranchised oppressed groups and keep it for yourself.
King: When do we start?

A2: Haman cast lots, which is like rolling dice, to choose a date for his war against the Chosen communities. The name of this Holiday, Purim, means the lots that were cast.
A1: Every day, while Mordecai was waiting at the palace gate to catch a brief visit with Esther, he read the Congressional Record on his Kindle. One fearful day, early in the month of Adar, he read the Community Liquidation Order. He dressed in mourning clothes and dabbed ashes on his face, to signify his distress,
A2: Mordecai worked with Esther to notify the King about the tragedy that was scheduled to happen.
A1: And yes, it all works out well in the end. Mordecai became the King’s most trusted advisor and the communities were authorized and aided in defending themselves. Esther lived happily ever after.
A2: And what happened to you-know-who?
KING: He was fired.
(Mic drop)
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Pho and Candle [Jun. 7th, 2016|04:09 pm]

The 7-day memorial candle that I lit for my dad is still burning. Also, I made some pho.

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Tomato Story [Jun. 7th, 2016|12:36 pm]
When I was around six years old, Mom learned how to can produce. She got a pressure cooker, and those one-pint jars with the two-part lids, and she got the pickling seasoning which said on the label, "crab boil". Since we never ate crabs, even having the mention of them was a disturbing element to have in the kitchen. There was only one food from the garden that ever went into the jars: green cherry tomatoes. Fully ripe tomatoes don't can well, but the tart, firm, underripe ones make an amazing pickle.

The reason that we had a bumper crop, was that the dirt came pre-seeded.

The photo below is from my sister's facebook page. She got published in a local magazine! (So proud of her.):

tomato story

And here's what I added in the comments:

The cow manure story was invented and repeated by Mom, because the image of a pasture on a farm was more palatable than where the soil really came from. The straight poop is that our local sewer department offered fully composted solid waste to home gardeners. This humanure had been aged to the point where the health department considered it to be completely safe, although as my sister, said, it was still quite organic. The tomato seeds had passed through public utility customers, and had survived the filtering, and sewage treatment process. These survival-of-the-fittest seeds kept us in an overabundant supply of cherry tomatoes for 7 years.

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Immediacy [Jun. 5th, 2016|12:44 pm]

A little bit of down time on a Sunday
afternoon before an event starts. Who could I call for a moment of company? Dad's phone number is still in the favorite numbers list.

I called my daughter.

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The Miracle of 42 Chickpeas [Jun. 4th, 2016|12:27 am]
My Wednesday night guests ate all of the hummus, but I still had plenty of bagels and crudités left. Shopping didn't feel appropriate, so I decided to substitute homemade guacamole for the Thursday night Shivah gathering. After we said Kaddish, I started setting out the snacks, and there was a whole tub of exactly the same hummus I'd gotten earlier in the week. It could have been brought by a guest, but just for a second it felt providentially provided.

And there are more memories streaming in today. Recalling the trip around 1982 that Dad and I took to New York. We stayed at Uncle Fred's house, where my grandmother was also living at the time. Fred the youngest of dad's brothers and sisters was a US postal worker. Then we drove to Westchester to see Uncle Herb, the oldest of the four boys. He was a structural engineer who loved to talk about the stock market. There was snow on the ground, and since I'd learned to drive in San Diego, my dad did all of the driving. I knew from experience that these family trips were mostly about seeing the inside of living rooms and sitting around kitchen tables, so I'd made a deal with my dad that if I went on this trip, we would do one genuine sight-seeing activity. The sight-seeing activity that I wanted was a real Broadway show. Alas, not alas at all, David Copperfield was sold out, and I got tickets to a revival of 42nd Street. My dad tried to talk me out of going at the last minute, but he didn't want to reimburse me for the tickets, and nor did he want to put me on a subway to navigate NYC alone in the icy February weather. We went to Nathan's Famous -funny how that name keeps popping up in this story- where I ordered raw clams. Then on to the show, which was every bit as good as I'd dreamed. Dad had a great time too, and he was singing bits of the songs for the rest of the trip. All of the songs that is, except for "Shuffle Off to Buffalo". He had fallen asleep and missed that number. In fact, he didn't believe me that it had been included. After the show, I met my maternal grandfather "under the clock in Times Square". I had dinner with my Bayside Queens grandparents, and then they drove me back to Uncle Fred's in Long Island. When we got there, Nana Ruth (Dad and Fred's mom) rushed around to open a new giant tin of Stella Doro cookies and and to make tea. Even though my parents weren't together any more, the grandparents from both sides were able to be sociable.
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Remembering [Jun. 3rd, 2016|04:27 am]

In all of the reminiscing with friends, and public speaking at small memorial gatherings over the last few days, I  didn't mention that Dad taught me to roller skate. I imagine that more recollections will come filtering in as time goes by.

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Sketch [Jun. 2nd, 2016|02:31 pm]

I drew this quick portrait of Dad in September 1999.

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My Dad's Name [Jun. 2nd, 2016|01:00 pm]
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So these posts are going to be all out of order because it is best to start with talking about the things that are still fresh in my mind. After a three year process of gradually taking responsibility for my dad, which included becoming his guardian and arranging his funeral, I came home from visiting with relatives to have a Shivah Minyan in my home last night. People from my traditional congregation and people from my deconstructed do it yourself chavurah shared some prayers and encouraged me to tell stories about my dad. I was stunned at how much I had to say.

First there was the question of his name. Jewish people have a ritual name, in addition to the legal one on our birth certificates. When I was was growing up, my dad told me that his family hadn't been very observant, and that when he married my mom, he told the rabbi that he couldn't remember his Hebrew name. So my mom's rabbi chose to call him Naftali, and this is what he was know as (spiritually, whatever that is,) for over a decade. I was the oldest of three girls, and when my brother came along and my parents telephoned their own parents to announce his birth, some hidden history was revealed. My dad's father Jake, had wanted his children to be practical and productive as opposed to filling their lives with ritual. So he had never mentioned to his sons that his family were Cohanim, which is an ancestral tradition that is passed down from father to son. There hadn't been any male grandchildren before, so Jake hadn't seen any pressing need to share the information. This was mildly interesting to most people in the family, but to my mom's older brother it was a really big deal. For my brother's naming ceremony, Uncle E showed up with ten black hat Lubovitchers, and they ran the show. He gave my brother a silver kiddish cup inscribed with his name including "HaCohain" as a title. After that, my not really observant dad could be called first when Torah honors were given in synagogue. My dad's name story took another turn when years later, after my family had moved to California, and my parents had divorced. The same Lubavitch uncle talked my parents into getting a religious divorce too. My folks drove from San Diego to Los Angeles, to a rabbinic court that was more orthodox than most. Since this was such a male/bro environment, it was actually fun for my dad. After hearing the story so far, the presiding rabbi declared that Naftali, being the name of a different part of the twelve tribes, was "Not suitable for a Cohain!" I remember my dad telling me about this. I was flabbergasted, "So another rabbi changed your name again?" Amazingly, dad felt perfectly OK about this. The next line had been, "We'll call you Hersh." Which is a great name that works well as a substitute for his first name, and is almost identical to his middle name which is Herchel. A quick digression here, I never knew how to spell his middle name assuming that it was Hershal, until I found it recently on his military discharge paperwork.

No, the name story isn't even finished yet. Moving forward another twelve years, On a visit with my dad I told him that the -couldn't remember his original name- story had always sounded odd to me. More of the story emerged. He did remember his name, it had been the Hebrew version of Nathan. My mom's rabbi had said that since she had a brother named Nathan, it would be inappropriate for her to marry someone with the same name. This really doesn't reflect standard practice at all, but some people be power trippin'. I never thought about it before, but clearly, it was substituting anther name that starts with the letter N.

When I woke up this morning, I realized that my dad had been originally named for his grandfather, who was known as "Mr Nathan", because many people didn't want to try to pronounce his last name.
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