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Archive for : Queen Esther

Who Is Under Your Mask?

This year, the Jewish holiday of Purim coincides with another important day, International Women’s Day. (Read more about the day’s history, which dates back to the early 20th century, here.)

The parallels are not hard to find: International Women’s Day celebrates women’s great achievements throughout history; Purim celebrates the achievements of two remarkable women. First there’s Queen Esther – a woman of remarkable bravery, who played a critical role in changing the course of Jewish history for the better. Purim also retells the story of Queen Vashti, a woman who stood up for what she believed in, despite the potential consequences. (Read more about Esther and Vashti here.)

We think it’s a pretty cool coincidence. We also think the convergence of these two holidays lends itself to some pretty great Purim costume inspiration. So what better way to celebrate both Purim and International Women’s Day than by dressing up as an amazing female leader – embodying her for the evening, and sharing her story with anyone who asks, “What are you?” (yeesh, that got really deep).

So if you’re still looking for your Purim costume (and let’s face it – many of us are), consider dressing as one of history’s greatest female leaders. Some ideas to get you started–fully loaded with what you’ll need:

  • Queen Esther
    Who she was: The heroine of the Purim story.
    What to wear: A flowing, drape-y dress, lots of silk scarves, a crown or beaded headdress, dangly earrings.
  • Queen Vashti
    Who she was: King Ahasuerus’ first wife who was banished because she refused to dance for the King.
    What to wear: Pretty much the same as above.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Who she is: A Supreme Court Justice of the United States – only the second woman to hold the position.
    What to wear: A salt and pepper bun, glasses, a black judge’s robe with a frilly white collar.
  • Rosa Parks
    Who is she is:  Known as “the first lady of civil rights,” Rosa Parks became an international icon after her refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus spurred a city-wide boycott.
    What to wear: a bun, rimless circle-shaped glasses, 1950’s vintage skirt suit and purse.
  • Jane Goodall
    Who she is: A scientist and naturalist who is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.
    What to wear: khakis and neutral colored turtleneck, long white wig tied into a ponytail. Bonus prop: carry a chimpanzee doll.
  • Annie Leibovitz
    Who she is: One of America’s most influential portrait photographers. Think of someone famous. She’s probably taken their picture.
    What to wear: A long salt and pepper wig (or powder in your hair), glasses, black turtleneck. Bonus prop: carry a camera.
  • Golda Meir
    Who she was: The fourth Prime Minister of Israel, and the first woman to hold the position.
    What to wear: A vintage black house dress with a brooch or pearls, hear pulled back in a low bun, strong penciled-in eyebrows.
  • Betty White
    Who she is: Nonagenarian actress who is best known for her role in the Golden Girls, but who has had a remarkable comeback career recently.
    What to wear: A coiffed white wig, a modest but brightly colored sweater with a scarf, big pearl clip on earrings, red lipstick, a charming grin.
  • Billie Holiday
    Who she was: One of the most influential jazz singers of all time.
    What to wear: Hair in a french twist with a white flower tucked in the front, a vintage dress, red lipstick. Bonus prop: carry a microphone.

Need even more inspiration? Check out Biography’s awesome roundup of Women’s history bios here.

Who are you dressing up as for Purim? Let us know by tweeting @repairtheworld

Spotlight on: Purim’s Connections to Service

Purim is the Jewish calendar’s biggest party. The holiday, which falls in the joyous month of Adar, celebrates the story of Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai’s heroic triumph over Haman in ancient Persia, and the resulting deliverance of the Jewish people. The holiday is honored by reading the megillah out loud (and making a ruckus whenever Haman’s name is read), wearing costumes, a good deal of partying on Purim night, and a delicious meal the following day. Perhaps the most famous – and telling – of Purim’s customs is the Talmudic requirement that someone drink until he can no longer distinguish between the words “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai.”
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