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Purim 1 pg
Purim is the most festive holiday of the Jewish calendar.
It is an occasion for “serious partying,” a day of
authorized abandon. Purim marks the celebration of
an ancient victory—when Queen Esther, an
Long, long time ago, many Jewish people lived in the city
of Shushan in the country of Persia. The king of this great
country was named King Ahashverosh (A-hash-vay-rosh).
The queen of the great country was named Queen Vashti.
the courage to
King Ahashverosh loved to give big parties in his
palace. One night, he gave a big party and wanted Queen
risk her life to
Vashti to dance for his guests. Vashti did not want to
save the Jewish
dance, so she sent a message that she would not attend
people from an
the King’s party. “Nobody says ‘No’ to
evil advisor who
plotted to destroy
the Jews of Shushan.
Purim is undoubtedly the most high-spirited of
Jewish holidays and probably the easiest to celebrate.
Four mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) have become the
“Perhaps some day you may be able to help the Jewish
essence of Purim. (A mitzvah is good deed that Jews do, or
people,” suggested Mordechai. The King chose the beauti-
ful and kind Esther to be his queen.
The King had a chief assistant to help him with all
① THE READING OF THE MEGILLAH
his important work. His name was Haman. Haman was a
selfish, mean and greedy man. He would walk down the
On Purim it is a mitzvah to hear the Megillah, the Book of Esther,
read aloud. Purim’s festivities center around this reading. The
community gathers in costume, graggers/ra’ashanim
noisemakers) in hand, prepared to hear the story. Carnivals, plays,
special dinners and parties all follow from this moment.
The Megillah reading of Purim can be a wonderful opportunity
to introduce children to a synagogue. Even without understanding
the context, children can learn to associate Judaism with joy and
God.” This brave man was a Jew named Mordechai and
celebration. They feel bonded to a people and community who know
Haman did not like him. Haman decided to punish all the
how to laugh and love their tradition enough to play with it and
Jews because of Mordechai.Haman did not know that
The actual story of the Megillah is one of straightforward ide-
alism. Its message for us and our children is that every Jew can be
a hero and that individuals can make a difference. Attending a
pastry fillings can be store-bought.
Megillah reading and discussing the story of Esther with your chil-
MAKING THE HAMANTASHEN
dren can help to foster a sense of self-worth and provide a role
❷ GIVING SHALAH MANOT, GIFTS OF FOOD
Giving Shalah Manot
reminds us that being a Jew means being part
of the community and sharing celebrations with friends. Giving
Shushan on the King’s beautiful white horse. This made
is a simple mitzvah. It is just a matter of giving a gift
in the center of each circle of dough.
Haman even angrier and more determined to punish all
• Fold up three sides of the circle and
of two or more kinds of food to the small circle of people important
One night, Esther invited the King and Haman to a
in your family’s life. Shalah Manot
may typically include haman-
tashen (three-cornered cookies named after Haman), fruit, and
➂ GIVING MANOT LA-EVYONIM, GIFTS TO THE POOR
In the Jewish tradition, every act of celebration, every moment
of significance, and every formal gathering includes an opportu-
nity for giving tzedakah. Tzedakah,
coming from a Hebrew word
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meaning justice, is the obligation to help those who are in need
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away from him and gave it to Mordechai. The Jews were
by sharing part of the wealth we have been fortunate enough
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very happy. They sang and danced and gave big parties.
visit our website: www.jopp.org
CELEBRATE AND BE HAPPY
A program of community outreach and Jewish education
(ADAPTED FROM BUILDING JEWISH LIFE: PURIM
, TORAH AURA PRODUCTIONS, LOS ANGELES, CA)
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