Purim 2019 – great time had by all!

Purim 2019 – great time had by all!

  • Photos by Louise Luger

Photos by Louise Luger

Purim—The Feast of Lots

On Purim, we are commanded to send baskets of food to others; we are also commanded to be charitable. To honor both of these Purim commandments, the Chesed (Acts of Kindness) Committee will be providing meals from the congregation to homebound congregants. The meals will be delivered to the homebound by the members of the Chesed Committee and Hebrew School families. This will provide our 30 Hebrew School students and adult congregants with an opportunity to directly participate in this mitzvah.

 Purim is one of the most popular Jewish holidays for families and children. The celebration of Purim is based on the story found in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is a time when Jewish communities, like the community in the Book of Esther, become particularly aware of the fragility and even the danger of living in the Diaspora (outside of Israel), as a people “scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples” (Esther 3:8).

The primary communal observance connected to Purim is the mitzvah (commandment) of reading the Book of Esther, called the Megillah (the scroll). It is supposed to be read in the synagogue with


a minyan (quorum of 10 Jews) present. The scroll is read twice, once in the evening after the Amidah (silent prayer) of Ma’ariv (the evening service) and once after the Torah service during Shaharit (the morning service). The Megillah is in the form of a parchment scroll, handwritten like a Torah. The Book of Esther has a special cantillation used only for that book, and the reading is preceded by three blessings

Purim is a fun-filled holiday that celebrates the role Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, played in preventing the Jews of Persia from being killed by the evil Haman on the 14th of Adar, a date determined by the casting out of lots.  It is celebrated by attending synagogue toP1050978 hear the Megillah (scroll) being read and by dresing up in costumes.  Each time Haman’s name is mentioned, congregants make a racket with noisemakers known as graggers to indicate their hatred of wicked Haman.
On Purim, Jews eat Hammentashen, three cornered pastries filled with poppy seeds, prunes or other fruits that resemble Haman’s hat and dress in festive costumes that often portray one of the main characters in the Book of Esther.

It is also customary on Purim to send baskets of ready to eatDSC_0013 foods to friends and relatives.  This activity which is considered a mitzvah, is known as “Misloach Manot”.

As Purim approaches, the members of the BRJC and other synagogues will put together special “Mishloach Manot” baskets to give to other congregants, friends, relatives and to those who are homebound.

Start thinking about your Purim costume and attend the reading of the Megillahat, our Purim Party at the Bay Ridge Jewish Center!