Thursday, March 1, 2007

Let's HEAR those Groggers

I hope you all clicked on the title to hear that wonderful Grogger noise. We use the Grogger to block out the sound of Haman's name during the reading of the Purim Megillah. By blotting out his name, we erase the evil which Haman represents.

For many of us, a grogger was a mass produced tin toy which we spun around in the air as the Rabbi read the megillah. For children today, the grogger is something they make themselves in preschool or Sunday school. Eileen from the Chadis Craft site gives instructions for making clay and CHOCOLATE groggers.

Contemporary artists have used the grogger as a means of expressing their Jewish roots and have done so with great results.

Avi Biran who is primarily a silversmith combines various materials to make his groggers. One represents the blotting out of Haman's name (as if a rubber stamp) and the other is Broken Neck Haman (as one would have found Haman after he is hung on the gallows he built for the Jews of Shushan).

Richard Bitterman, a self-taught metalsmith and Institute of Design in Chicago educated artistsays this about his grogger. This amazing piece of art and machinery has just as amazing a story behind it. Once upon a time,a few years ago, Richard was given a most unusual commission. Could he come up with something for a synagogue that would memorialize a beloved young teacher who had died terribly prematurely. It needed to be child-oriented, as the young teacher had loved and been loved by all the children in the congregation. And the congregation wanted a piece that would make a statement all its own, a strong, vital, vibrant statement. This was not an easy request to satisfy. It took weeks just to think of a fitting memorial, and additional weeks to figure out how to make such a piece work. The actual brazing,silver-soldering, and finally the enamel-painting stretched out into several weeks more . But the final product--this delightful, noisy, joyous parade of children celebrating Purim, was the result. The congregation so loved it that they gave Richard permission to make and sell more of them, and thus we can offer it to you. Each child is individually hand-painted in a different costume. When the grogger is whirled easy to do! they seem to dance around in a circle, while a flag waves above them. What a joyful noise they make!
To see the grogger in action, check this out. Be patient. It is slow to load.

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