Grapevine: All dressed up with somewhere to go

Consider the weather, there was a fairly large turnout at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue on Sunday night for the reading of Megilat Esther.

* CONSIDERING THE inclement weather, there was a fairly large turnout at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue on Sunday night for the reading of Megilat Esther. Strangely enough – or maybe not, considering that Purim is in a sense a women’s festival – female congregants greatly outnumbered males. Because of the rain, very few people came in costume, and most of those who did limited their concessions to the festival to headgear and theatrical makeup.
At the Ramban Synagogue in Katamon, congregants were not the least bit deterred by the weather. The synagogue was packed to capacity, and most congregants came in some kind of fancy dress.
The following day, after the rain had cleared, vendors and shoppers alike enhanced the already colorful Mahaneh Yehuda market by wearing fancy dress. Some of the vendors went even further, attracting people to their stalls by singing and dancing. And on Emek Refaim, people in fancy dress went around in packs, giving the area a very festive air.
* FOR YEARS the sons of psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Amnon Gimpel had been hearing about his prowess on the football field as a university student in Pineville, Louisiana, and later at the University of Oklahoma. But they didn’t really believe that he was as good as he said he was. One of his sons, Jeremy, who is a radio and television personality and co-host of the popular television show Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem, travels the US lecture circuit three or four times a year to explain Israel’s right to exist and to talk about contemporary Zionism.
In Denver, Colorado, a couple of weeks ago, Jeremy had concluded his address to an audience that mainly comprised university students and was busy fielding questions. Noting his American accent, one of the students asked him to clarify whether he was American or Israeli. Jeremy explained that although he was born in America, he was the son of an Israeli whose own father had walked from Belarus to pre-state Israel in 1915. Jeremy said that his father was born in Jerusalem and after completing his army service had gone to the US to study in 1968. He had spent several years in America after graduation, building up a successful practice, and had then returned to Jerusalem, where he is a leading expert on the treatment of ADHD.
From the back of the room a man somewhat older than most of the other people in the audience asked, “Is your father called Amnon?” When Jeremy replied in the affirmative, the man said, “No one could kick a football like your father. All you had to do to win a game was to give him the ball, and he did the rest.” It transpired that the man had been in the same class as Amnon Gimpel at university. Jeremy could hardly wait to call his brothers and tell them that he finally had confirmation that all their father’s stories were true.
*  THE BLACK gorilla who entered the dining room of Gerald Schroeder and Barbara Sofer’s home on Purim proved to be none other than Aish Hatorah activist Alan Cohen.Curiously, the five-year-old granddaughter of the hosts was more amusedthan frightened by his appearance. As for Cohen, he wanted to know ifthere were any more children coming to the party because he was gettingoverheated in his costume but didn’t want to divest himself of it untilhe was sure that no other children were on their way.