For Irish Jews, the moments where the two distinct parts of their culture come together are seemingly few and far between. For example, this Thursday marks the first time that Purim and St. Patrick’s Day have coincided since 1957!
Thanks to musicians Brigid Kaelin and Gregory Maupin, there’s now a catchy song to mark the occasion.
“When St. Paddy’s Falls on Purim” is a charmingly witty example of mutual cultural appreciation and the intersections between Jewish and Irish culture. Kaelin and Maupin, accompanying themselves on accordion and ukulele respectively, sing verses like, “When the 14th of Adar meets the 17th of March / that’s the day on which, by far, fewest throats will feel the parch” and “It’s time to serve Israelis Manischewitz topped with Bailey’s / and Aunt Peg from Donegal a pat o’ Kerry Gold on her challah.” Just one listen and you’ll almost assuredly be in the St. Purim’s Day spirit.
For Kaelin, the experience of creating the song is personal. “I grew up interfaith with a Jewish mother and Catholic father, so it felt like the perfect opportunity to dig into both holidays and have some fun,” she told Alma.
It was also a collaborative experience — Maupin initially came up with the idea for the song and wrote part of it, and later the two finished writing the song via Zoom. Then, the pair met up in Kaelin’s backyard, the first time either had performed live with other musicians in years due to COVID, and recorded the song.
“I’ve definitely questioned my career as an artist, especially while I sit back and write while the world is on fire,” Brigid explained. “But seeing the smiles that it has given people has made me remember that art is especially important in times like these.”
So this Thursday, whether you’re celebrating Purim, St. Patrick’s Day or both, take a cue from Kaelin and Maupin and remember: “When St. Paddy’s falls on Purim, Oy gevalt, faith and begor / I’m going to drink until the two line-up again.”