By: Jill Cogan, Judaic Coordinator
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha! In English this means, when the month of Adar arrives, we should increase our joy! There are many reasons to increase our joy during the month of March/Adar. Spring is right around the corner which means warmer and longer days! However, most importantly, this means we will be celebrating Purim!
Purim is one of my favorite holidays because it encourages people to have fun while teaching children to be brave and embrace their Jewish identity. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Israel during Purim, you’ll get to experience lavish festivals, street parties and large, delicious feasts! Jews around the world will celebrate Purim on the 14th of Adar, which this year falls on Tuesday, March 16th. We commemorate the salvation of the Jews of Shushan and the defeat of the wicked, wicked Haman – BOOOO! The Megillah of Esther, meaning Book of Esther, recounts the story of Purim and how the heroine Esther was saved from evil Haman. It encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to let loose and embrace their silly side!
There’s a phrase in the Book of Esther frequently used in association with Purim: v’nahafoch hu, meaning it was turned upside down or the opposite happened. The irony of this phrase is really the theme of the whole Purim story itself. Queen Vashti, the first wife of Persian King Ahashverosh in the Book of Esther, defies orders of her husband, King Ahashverosh, by refusing to dance and display her beauty for his subjects. Our heroine Esther ends up saving the Jewish people by standing up to King Ahashverosh after staying quiet about her Jewish identity first. As a result, Haman’s evil plot to wipe out all the Jews of Shushan ends up backfiring. The Jews of Shushan whose lives were once threatened became empowered to not live in fear and create their own destiny. While this is an ancient story that happened in a town that no longer exists, the message of Purim remains true through the present day. It teaches people to be brave and embrace their Jewish identity.
Here at the Katz JCC, we’re gearing up for our annual Community Purim Carnival this Sunday, March 12th from 1-4pm! We invite everyone to dress up as their favorite Purim character and bring their friends and family to this family fun event for an exciting afternoon of carnival games, prizes, music, special pirate show and much more! We have plenty of hamentaschen and prizes to go around. I’ll be there in my favorite costume and look forward celebrating Purim with everyone this Sunday!