December 1, 2005 | Issue 24

Purim Celebrants to be Subject to Random Shalach Manos Searches

WASHINGTON, D.C. — [] Responding to "a possible threat of terror," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced Monday that Jewish children will be subject to random shalach manos searches this Purim season.

"Individuals concealing their identities through clever disguise and under cover of night - even though you can't be mikayim the mitzvah then - may attempt to use the unspecified threat of shalach manos to extort dollar bills from unsuspecting victims," Chertoff said. "Such scare tactics may have been tolerated in the past, but they will not be allowed to continue this Purim."

National Guard troops and local police are being stationed at checkpoints in residential neighborhoods to seize the contents of any paper bags, wicker baskets, giant cellophane monstrosities or other receptacles. Additionally, marzipan-sniffing dogs will be posted at regular intervals to locate and devour suspicious items.

Local, county and state officials have been placed on orange alert, with strict orders to confiscate and investigate bags containing La-hit, Bamba Snacks, Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, Nougat Roll, mini Kedem Grape Juice bottles, leftovers from Pesach, gum and any and all forms of taffy.

Chertoff asked Washington citizens for their assistance and he outlined steps that the average citizen should take to aid in the war on terror. The DHS guidelines encourage parents to report any suspicious neighbors who create potentially creepy yard displays, especially those that include effigies of Haman's children, Vashti figures in windows or doorways or repeating tape loops of Haman getting hammered by trash.

Chertoff recommended that law-enforcement authorities be granted sweeping new powers to ensure security, including mandatory street-corner identity checks for suspects wearing clothing designed to conceal facial features or otherwise obscure ready personal identification. Additionally, local police have been ordered to detain any individuals appearing to be Haman, Dathan, Aviram, Ahasueros, or other characters designed to evoke fear.

Critics of the warning say that the DHS is merely sowing seeds of unease for political reasons, pointing out that the organization has yet to present any real evidence of the threat.

"This is yet another misguided and unfair example of profiling by our nation's law enforcement," said JDL spokesperson Vinny Hapachu. "It's doubtful that many Mordechai Hatzadiks will be searched, but arabs, Santa Clauses, and Vashtis should expect a huge crimp in their Purim fun."


Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded, and writes books from 5-9:


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