Beyond the Regular: How ‘Hatty Purim’ Uses Color and Talent to Transform Purim Headgear
By: Yehuda Alter
A new phenomenon has begun to makes its way into the Purim wardrobe in recent years; customized shtreimels that are completely unique personal expression of their owners.
While our wardrobes remain largely black-and-white all year—on this day of joy and holy frivolity, the externals matter just a bit less. Thus—in order to spread joy, to others and to oneself, the shtreimels of many of our neighbors may take the form of a Canadian or American flag, or of… a ketchup bottle with fries!
While the talented artisan behind these unique creations would like to remain anonymous, and keep things focused on his work, he does make ‘normal’ shtreimels all year round. It is only for this time of year, when he opens his shop called “Hatty Purim.”
“Close to twenty years ago, I thought about changing things up in honor of Purim. I created five unique, colorful shtreimels, and I advertised them. Within days, they were gone,” he recalls about those early days.
Some of his most important clients are the Purim Rabbonim of the largest kehillos and chassidic courts throughout the world. These figures, who bring joy and spiritual uplift to many thousands, crown their heads with these unique creations out of Boro Park.
Then there are hundreds of balebatim, average people, bachurim and yungeleit who make their way with very specific instructions for what will become a feature of their Purim attire for years to come.
“It’s not as much the time involved, as much as the creative energy that goes into fashioning these colorful furs—and, for the same reason, all of the work is done by the two golden hands of our shtreimel macher himself.
Interestingly, the business of creating colorful shtreimels and kolpiks is not limited to the Purim season alone.
“While, for Pesach and Sukkos I do have workers, and we sell and repair a great deal of regular, beautiful shtreimlech, spodiks, and kolpiks, I do get many requests throughout the year for unique creations,” he explains.
These may come from badchonim or other jesters who make their way to Yiddishe simchos to uplift hearts.
“I have a special passion for bringing color and dimension specifically to shtreimlech, yarmulkes, and bekeshes—everyday attire that so many of us wear in black—giving them an eye-catching flair, one that will bring joy to the hearts and smiles to the lips of those wearing them, as well as all those around them,” our artist says.
“And can’t we all use a bit more of that these days..”