Nu York, New York: Inspiration for Purim Costumes Is Everywhere

 About a month ago, driving home from shopping at the local supermarket, I came up with a theme and specific ideas for my Purim costume this year. I had a few good laughs over the theme, which linked to a few news stories (one is sports related as well as tied into making fun of certain ethnic stereotypes). And I ordered an inexpensive costume piece over the internet. But when I told my two teenaged daughters about my Purim ideas, they were aghast about parts of it, and condemned the costume piece I had ordered. They really dug into me about this, so when I received the costume item (let's just say it is a type of hat), I shoved it in the back of my bedroom. I know it is there, but I will not use it this year. I am taking my daughters' advice on how "cringey" this could be. A lot can go into the costumes people make, buy and wear for holidays such as Purim, but also for non-Jewish holidays such as Halloween, Mardi Gras and Carnival. We put on a different persona and parade it around. Our choices end up being a reflection of certain aspects of our lives: are we making a political or social statement? or just having fun? Are we part of a group plan to wear the same outfit or soloing? This was deeply impressed upon me back in late December, when my family and I visited New Orleans and stopped by a museum devoted to the art and history of Mardi Gras costuming and floats. I thought about this also over the weekend, when my husband and I decided to visit Brooklyn's most prominent museum, the Brooklyn Museum (aka the Brooklyn Museum of Art). The most touted exhibit there was a retrospective of the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, famous for his many haunting statues depicting the human figure.  There were two particular sculpted male heads that definitely caught my attention, with their soulful, tortured demeanors. I examined them carefully, more carefully than the rest of the works on display. I admired them from above and below and the sides, and studied the shadows around the eyes and mouths.  And later on, thinking of these carved heads, I wondered if anyone had ever made a Purim costume of a Rodin sculpture. Is this too fringe? Perhaps someone out there has made a costume to resemble Rodin's most famous (and most parodied) artwork, "The Thinker." Would this be a hilarious or thoughtful or just plain bizarre costume for Purim? Food for thought. By the way, I wanted to see if Rodin had any involvement with the Parisian Jewish community, and I learned that he stayed neutral on the question of Alfred Dreyfus's situation. And the publisher of the Forward, Abraham Cahan, published a moving eulogy upon the artist's death.