Mar 17

Be Happy! It’s Adar! Learning about Purim

JanetPurim, a 3000 plus year old Jewish holiday, takes place during the Jewish month of Adar (theme for the month: Be Happy!  It’s Adar!).  It commemorates Jewish survival over a foe in the ancient Persian Empire, who desired to destroy all of Jewish culture, religion and peoplehood.  Fortunately, the day was saved by the brave, bright and beautiful Queen Esther.  In celebration, we eat hamentashen, a tasty triangle-shaped, fruit-filled pastry, dress in costumes, tell the story (the Megillah) of Queen Esther and her heroic deeds, recognize that things are not always as they seem, and “make merry”.

On Purim, it is a tradition to emphasis Jewish unity and friendship.  It is customary to send gifts of fruit, hamentashen and other ready-to-eat foods to friends near and far.  While it is a year-round responsibility for Jews to be concerned for the needy, the ill and the infirm, it is a special mitzvah (commandment and good deed) to give directly to the poor or shut-in on Purim.  This gift is called Shaloch manot and this year, the Jewish students from Intermountain and I created and delivered a shaloch manot basket for my mother, who is currently residing at a local nursing home.  She was surprised and delighted by the children’s visit.  The children, in turn, were pleased to have been able to perform a mitzvah in honor of the holiday of Purim.

Janet Tatz, Jewish Educator