Purim

Purim celebrates the saving of the Jewish community from persecution in ancient Persia, thanks to Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai, who prevailed over the evil Haman.

Purim begins at sundown on Thursday, February 25.


MITZVOT FOR PURIM

On Purim, it is our obligation to make a reversal, a turning upside down of the inequalities we see.

  • As we prepare to give out our mishloach manot, this year may be the perfect time to keep it simple. We can help those who are struggling with cans of soup and beans, pastas and sauce, cans of tuna and bread, peanut butter and preserves. Be creative, not fancy. What is more thoughtful and kind than offering a simple package of food that a family can still use after Purim ends?
  • Purim is also a time to remember that we were not always free to have fun and silliness. By giving money to at least two needy people or good causes, we can make matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor) a part of our celebration.
  • Make a donation to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger. A national advocacy organization, Mazon works to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the U.S and Israel.
  • Consider supporting the American Jewish World Service, the leading Jewish organization working to fight poverty and pursue justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Right now, AJWS is working with each of their 519 grantee organizations around the world to work to stop the spread of COVID-19 and addressing both short- and long-term effects of the ongoing pandemic.
  • The Religious Action Center’s Purim Social Action Guide has many worthwhile suggestions on how we can help to make a difference. Donating to a local food pantry, giving out supermarket gift certificates, or supporting women’s empowerment campaigns—doing these mitzvot for social justice on Purim is a practical gesture of our Jewish values!

RECIPES

HAMANTASCHEN

They look like Haman’s three-cornered hat. Or because the German word tasche means pocket, the cookies could be Haman’s pockets that held the money he offered the king for permission to kill us. Whichever it is, it’s not Purim until the hamantaschen are baked and devoured!

Look at these awesome Chocolate Chip Hamantaschen! Try making this version for chocolate lovers from Joan Nathan for the New York Times.

What? You never heard of Taco Hamantaschen?!? It may not be traditional but stuffing triangular shells with vegetarian taco fixings, with guacamole and salsa at the ready, how can that be a bad thing?! You might even start a new tradition—Taco Tuesday Hamantaschen!

HAVE A PURIM COCKTAIL … OR TWO!

The Estherito MojitoThe Vashtini | The Mordechai Mai Tai | The Hamanhattan | The Groggy Grogger | The Persian Fling | The Shushan Slammer

Find them all here.

On Purim, we should get drunk. Yes, according to the Megillah, we are supposed to drink until we cannot distinguish between “Blessed is Mordechai [baruch Mordechai]” and “Cursed is Haman [arur Haman].” Why? Rabbi Howard Goldsmith (Congregation

Emanu-El of Westchester) suggests it’s to dull the ego. “When we can no longer tell the difference between [Mordechai and Haman], we become a bit unsure of the morality of our views. Instead of one side or the other, maybe we should try to find a space in the

grays and nuances of any issue … And then, when we’ve stopped drinking the day after Purim, perhaps we can find a collaborative, humble way forward.” Above all, Rabbi Goldsmith would also caution us to imbibe safely. And to enjoy these Purim cocktails!


FOR THE KIDS

MAKE YOUR OWN GROGGER

As we read the Book of Esther, remember to blot out Haman’s name whenever it’s mentioned by stomping, booing, and shaking your grogger! Here are some ways to make your own:

  • With duct or packing tape, secure a plastic fork or spoon to a paper plate with most of the handle out. Put some stones, hard beans, jellybeans, pennies, or paperclips between the two paper plates. Seal the circumference with staples. Decorate by wrapping it with paper or cover it with duct tape, stickers, or felt!
  • Use your finger or the straw to widen the hole in an empty juice box. Put some rice or unpopped popcorn kernels in the hole. Tape up the hole. Decorate with stickers and ribbons!
PURIM BOOK (ages 3–7)

The Better-Than-Best Purim by Naomi Howland

This sweet Jewish lady is all set to prepare hamantaschen for Purim and needs the help of her furry friends. However, they are too busy to help her. Secretly, her friends are planning a surprise. Check out the recipe at the end for the hamantaschen!


Chag Purim sameach!

And in Yiddish (because it’s fun to say), Freilechen Purim!

Happy Purim GIFs | Tenor