Multi-Masking: A Purim Photo Activity
This activity was created by Rabbi Sarah Tasman, a lifecycle officiant, mikvah guide, Jewish yoga teacher, and a member of the Shechinah Council for At The Well. You can find her at rabbisarahtasman.com.
Purim is a lively, raucous holiday (not unlike Carnival) in which we retell the story of the Book of Esther, dress up in masks and costumes, eat, drink and be merry. In the Book of Esther (9:1), the phrase na’afoch hu appears, which literally means “things were turned upside down or inside out.” This line of text is one source of Purim’s wild atmosphere.
While some use Purim as a way to go crazy or act and dress in a way they never would in their normal lives, some choose to don costumes of their own alter egos, their inner identity, or opposite self to see things from a different perspective and even gain new clarity.
The Book of Esther gives us a lot to consider on the topic of what’s hidden and what’s revealed, in particular, which aspects of one’s identity are seen and which are unseen. In your Well Circle or with a friend, read and discuss the Book of Esther and go a little deeper into Purim this year by exploring your identities and the everyday masks and costumes we wear.
As you read, note or discuss the following:
What kinds of clothes, costumes, makeup, and jewelry are referenced?
How do clothes/costumes in the story relate to the wearers’ identities or characters?
Do costumes reveal or cover up the characters’ true identities?
Think about your own clothes as costumes. What do they hide or reveal about your identity? Do you have different “costumes” for different parts of your personal or professional identity?
We all have different aspects of our identity that remain hidden or that we choose to reveal at different times. What aspects of your identity do you want to reveal?
After discussing the Book of Esther, think of two different sides you have - these sides can derive from your hobbies, profession, interests, or even this phase of your life. Bring clothes, accessories or props that could express those sides of you to this month’s Well Circle. Find a friend or colleague experienced in Photoshop to do a Dual Identity Photoshoot for your Well Circle.
Photographer Alina Vorobeitchik originally created a series of Career Identity Portraits for a project at Yale School of Management in 2012. Click here to view her collection. Borrow Alina’s concept for an Adar Dual Identity session to explore the many costumes and masks we wear in our own lives.
a few portraits from Alina’s original shoot:
Photos created by Alina Vorobeitchik who inspired these Adar Dual Identity portraits. Her collection can be viewed at somcareerduality.tumblr.com.