Purim is Coming!

March 10, 2014

By Rabbi Shari Shamah, Jewish Family Specialist and Julie Lookatch, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator

After this long, crazy cold winter we’ve been experiencing, we all really need a good reason to celebrate and have some fun. It’s time to put on costumes, dance, laugh and make a lot of noise… Purim is coming!

Purim commemorates a time when the Jews were able to defend themselves against their enemies who sought to oppress them. We read about the story of Purim in the Book of Esther. At the beginning of the story, Esther concealed her Jewish identity which has brought about the Purim tradition of dressing up in costumes. Children and adults are encouraged to dress up and be silly on Purim.  (Click here for the whole story) We make lots of noise every time we hear the name of the story’s villain, Haman (BOOO!!!). Adults are encouraged to drink until they don’t know the difference between Mordechai (a hero) and Haman (the villain). It is one of the most fun holidays on the Jewish calendar.

There are 4 things you need to do to fulfill the mitzvot for Purim:

1. Go Hear the Reading of the Megillah (The Scroll of Esther)

Most of our area synagogues will be holding Megillah readings on the evening of March 15 and having Purim Carnivals on March 16. Check their individual websites or go to milwaukee.planitjewish.com for specific times.

2. Send Mishloach Manot

It is traditional to send baskets filled with food and drink to friends and family. The baskets must contain two different kinds of foods that are ready to eat. These usually include homemade hamantashen (triangle shaped filled cookies) which are also fun to make with your kids. For a recipe click here.

3. Give Tzedakah

It’s always nice to share your good fortune with others. The JCC’s Tzedakah Days Project is currently collecting paper towels and disinfecting wipes for Ronald McDonald House. In March, we will be collecting boxes of Mac N Cheese for the Jewish Community Food Pantry. Side note: shaking a box of Mac N Cheese makes a great grogger (noisemaker) when you are trying to blot out the name of the evil Haman (BOOO!!).

4. Eat a Festive Meal (Se’udah)