The 5784 Purim Gazette
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The 5784 Purim Gazette

Once again, Prof. Essie Fresser joins the AJT staff as Acting Editor-in-Chief.

The Atlanta Jewish Times welcomes guest editor, Professor Essie Fresser, who has magnanimously agreed to halt her world travels in order to oversee this year’s Purim Gazette.

Prof. Essie Fresser

Having recently returned from a sabbatical year in Tasmania, where she adopted an orphaned Tasmanian Devil, Fresser currently writes a popular column for the online weekly, “Two Jews, Three Shuls,” which discusses current events in the Jewish world. Her 2023 interviews with Jewish leaders about Americans’ views on Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, “You’re So Not United,” have been widely referenced in rabbi’s sermons, on TikTok, and on several late-night TV shows with guest Adam Sandler.

Thumb Wrestling for Hamantaschen

The Dean of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel, Rabbi Dave Silvershoes, will compete in a high-stakes contest on Purim, as he vies for the grand prize of six dozen assorted hamantaschen. He will represent Atlanta in the 2024 Thumb Wrestling Championship (TWC) in Las Vegas, Nevada, home of the famous kosher pastry chef, Fanny Pacque, who will bake the prize. Silvershoes was meaningfully shaking his lulav on Sukkot when his thumbs were spotted by scout, Hy Drojan, who claims, “The guy’s a natural! He has double-jointed thumbs, a rarity among Ashkenazi Jews. I convinced him to represent Atlanta at the TWC.” Rain or shine, Silvershoes practices every afternoon after Mincha at a table outside the Spicy Peach. Silvershoes’ expertise at the niche sport was the subject of a “Sixty Minutes” interview with Leslie Stahl, who admitted that “I’d never met a thumb-wrestling rabbi, but now I’m a big fan.” Asked if he plans to go pro, Silvershoes candidly states, as he massages his pollex with Tiger Balm, “Winning the grand prize of six dozen assorted hamantaschen is my immediate goal. After that, we’ll see, because I don’t know how many good thumb years I have left.” Standing nearby, Stahl immediately interjects, “To a hundred and twenty!” Drojan has the last word, “Join us in Las Vegas when our man Silvershoes wins six dozen assorted hamantaschen.” A celebratory parade down Peachtree Road is planned.

Peacocks Invade Marcus Jewish Community Center

Just as teacher Gezunta Greps was about to start her Melton class at the MJCCA, an irritating, high-pitched squawking was heard in the hallway. Quick-thinking Greps, while her students sheltered in place, rushed to investigate the strange noise. Four pickleball players, who also heard the din, were already on the scene, using their racquets to chase the screeching peacocks from the area. There were no further Melton interruptions from the peacocks, which were last seen carousing on a soccer field.
The peacocks and peahens had apparently escaped from cages in Moishe Pippick’s Traveling Bird Show trailer as it traveled along Tilly Mill Road. Distraught owner Pippick moaned, “Peacocks ain’t cheap, ya know, and them peacocks always steal the show when they fan their feathers.” He is offering two front row seat tickets to his upcoming bird show at Berman Commons, where the trailer was heading. Dunwoody police chief, Billy Grogger, who claims to have a soft spot for peacocks, vowed to corral the fowl in time for the show.

Family-friendly Film

A new film, based on a book of short stories by Yiddish author, Shalom Yall, tells the gripping tale of a hapless auto mechanic and his daughters. The play, “Piddler Under the Hood,” resonates with both catchy and poignant tunes, including “Transmission,” “Do You Love My Carburetor?”, and “Far From the Garage I Love.” The large cast, including three actors who claim to know what a catalytic converter is, will begin rehearsals April 1. There is early buzz in the fashion industry about artistically stained dungarees making their way to the runways of European couture spring shows in Italy and France. The Home Depot, which closely monitors street do-it-yourself trends, has already expanded its corps of auto parts experts in anticipation of the expected groundswell of folks who—inspired by the movie—will try to fix their own cars and fail. Hand-stained onesies and coffee mugs proclaiming “I’m a Piddler” will be on sale at select theaters.

For Book Lovers

Our book reviewer, Mel Lon Balle, chooses his favorite books for your Purim reading pleasure. Here are his top choices, with brief story synopses.

Mel Lon Balle

Withering Heights: Slow disintegration threatens a wooden balcony in a Lower East Side synagogue
The Red Badge of Porridge: Shirt stains reveal a son’s secret drinking of Mom’s refrigerated beet borscht
Arranging All The Little Pieces: Chef Mark Bittman discusses winning antipasto platters
The Stronger: A comparison of different kinds of onions
Silent Springs: A poor couple in Poland replaces their sagging feather bed
War and Peas: A son fights hard to eliminate canned vegetables from family meals
Lady Chatterley’s Louvres: A duchess leaves custom window treatments when selling her London home
The Bubble: A compilation of five books about bath time rituals

The Old Man and the C: Elderly gentleman praises his favorite essential vitamin
Feast of Eden: A retelling of the Biblical apple story, through Eve’s eyes
The Ketchup in the Rye: Deli owner tells tales of customers misusing condiments
Gone with the Wand: Broadway actress describes playing the Good Witch Glinda during a blackout
The Habbit: Biography of a second grader who consistently misspells words
The Count of Crisco: Nutritionist lists caloric reasons not to use the lard substitute
One Hundred Years of Attitude: Four generations of the Schwartz family exhibit sarcasm and bad manners

Aquarium Offers New Hamantaschen Fillings

Noted Celebrity Chef Wolfpack Puck encourages visitors to celebrate Purim at the Georgia Aquarium Coastline Café by trying the traditional three-sided holiday pastry with several of his new fillings. Puck affirms, “Naturally, I discussed all my new recipes with my boss, Bernie Marcus, who is a well-known hamantaschen connoisseur, and, may I add, an all-round swell guy.” Puck, who’s known to favor Southern food, says his favorite new hamantaschen filling is fried okra, but he adds that for meat lovers, he’s created a liver-and-onion option as well as an open-face triangular cookie with a sweet-and-sour meatball on top. When asked about his unconventional hamantaschen fillings, Puck answered matter-of-factly, “Truthfully, Bernie and I aren’t crazy about prunes or poppy seeds, so we considered alternatives. We both love my new sardine filling, a nod to our location here at the aquarium.” While there, visitors may also order the sour pickle taco or schmaltz herring wrap, the popular aquarium restaurant staples.

Fran Drescher Moves to Atlanta

After exhibiting bargaining expertise at the recent SAG-AFTRA strike, Fran Drescher earned the admiration of Americans everywhere, who believe she can prevail in dealing with Iran, Russia, and China. As a result of her lauded abilities, Drescher is entering this year’s presidential race. “I’ve proven my negotiation chops,” Drescher says, “Iran can’t be any tougher than the movie studio heads.” Her chutzpah, good-luck plushie toy, and New York accent bode well for her chances, according to polls, citing millions of voters who are sick and tired of “the same-old, same-old” candidates. When she heard that Elton John’s combined condos on Peachtree Road were on the market, Drescher jumped at the chance to spend $6 million from her war chest and move to Atlanta. “I’m counting on the Jewish vote,” Drescher stated, planning ahead. “Matisyahu has already agreed to sing at my inauguration.”

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