Celebrating Purim

The Institute of Judaic Studies and Services (IJSS) looks forward to celebrating Purim with IJSS and Jewish Friendship Group (JFG) members.

In the spirit of Jewish unity, IJSS and JFG are jointly sponsoring a Purim Hamantaschen and Dessert Evening on March 15. Members who would like to attend can RSVP to Joan Elder at [email protected]. Costumes are not required but those who do dress up are in the running for the best woman or man’s costume.

We celebrate Purim this year from March 16 to 17—a time to rejoice, give charity, dress in costume (if you wish), and eat Hamantaschen.

Purim raises memories and feelings of Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai. Once again, the story is told in synagogues and in homes. The Purim play is always an event. Will I get to be Queen Esther in the Sunday school play, or do I have to play Mordecai or Haman one more time? Hamantaschen are eaten. They are triangular pastries (the shape of Haman’s hat) filled with apricot or cherry jam, poppy seed, or prune. They are a treat! Costumes are made from old and borrowed clothes. Hats or crowns are made from construction paper. The Purim carnival is a festive time.

In brief, the story goes:

* King Ahasuerus had vanquished his wife Vashti from his kingdom (Persia) and held a beauty pageant to find a new bride.

* The king chose Esther, a beautiful young woman, a Jewess, and the niece of Mordecai, leader of the Jews. The king did not know that Esther was a Jew.

* Mordecai defied the king’s orders to bow to Haman, the prime minister.

* Haman was incensed and convinced the king to kill all the Jews.

* Learning of this, Mordecai persuaded his niece, Esther, to make a banquet for the king and  plea to save the lives of the Jews.

* The king, finding out that his beautiful wife was a Jew, was furious. Haman was hanged. Mordecai became the prime minister, and the king granted the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

IJSS is a small, active, and welcoming congregation. We are a close community. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

Happy Purim to all!