Institute of Jewish Services and Studies Celebrates Purim

Melanie Einbund

The Institute of Jewish Services and Studies (IJSS) February services will be held on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. Rabbi Seltzer will be officiating. Services will be viewed via Zoom.

IJSS members will be receiving the Zoom link via email prior to Friday, Feb. 26.

Feb. 25 and 26 brings the festival of the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is a time of joy, charitable acts, and celebration.

Purim conjures up memories and feelings of the past. The story of Queen Esther comes alive, as once again told in synagogues and in homes. Thoughts begin to take hold; Will I get to be Queen Esther in the Sunday School play, or do I have to play Mordecai or Hamen one more time? (This happened to me more than once.) Hamantaschen filled with apricot or cherry jam, poppyseed, or prune. What a delight! Making costumes from old and borrowed clothes and hats or crowns from construction paper all to be worn at the Purim Carnival.

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 Hamen, the Prime Minister.

* Hamen 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 a plea to save the lives of the Jews.

* The King finding out that his beautiful wife was a Jew was furious. Hamen was hanged. Mordecai became the Prime Minister and the King granted the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

Traditionally Hamantaschen is eaten, a special treat in the shape of a three-cornered hat representing Hamen’s hat. Below is a recipe. A hint is to refrigerate the dough overnight.

Hamantaschen for 24 cookies.


* 3 eggs

* 1 cup granulated sugar

* 3/4 cup vegetable oil

* 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 1/2 cup orange juice

* 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 tablespoon baking powder

* 1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the oil, vanilla and orange juice. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. If the dough is not stiff enough to roll out, stir in more flour. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or the rim or a drinking glass. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners.

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!