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Purim Checklist


1) Listen to the Megillah - To relive the miraculous events of Purim, listen to the reading of the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther). At certain points in the reading where Haman's name is mentioned, it is customary to twirl groggers (Purim noisemakers) and stamp one's feet to drown out his name. Tell the children that on Purim it's a mitzvah to make noise! [MEGILLAH READING & COSTUME CONTEST, Wednesday, March 23rd, 7:00 pm. This year at Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Road, Aptos] 2) Give to the Needy (Matanot La'evyonim) Concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility; but on Purim it is a special mitzvah to remember the poor. Give charity to at least two (but preferably more) needy individuals on Purim day, Thursday, March 24th. The mitzvah is best fulfilled by giving directly to the needy. If, however, you cannot find poor people, place at least two coins into a charity box. As with the other mitzvahs of Purim, even small children should fulfill this mitzvah. 3) Send Food Portions to Friends (Mishloach Manot / Shalach Manos) On Purim we emphasize the importance of unity and friendship by sending gifts of food to friends. Send a gift of at least two kinds of ready-to-eat foods (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage), to at least one or two friends. It is preferable that the gifts are delivered via a third party. Children, in addition to sending their own gifts of food to their friends, make enthusiastic messengers. 4) Eat, Drink and be Merry Purim should be celebrated with a special festive meal on Purim Day, at which family and friends gather together to rejoice in the Purim spirit. It is a custom to drink wine or other inebriating drinks at this meal. As part of the general celebration of the month: [ANNUAL PURIM SKATING PARTY, FAMILY LEARN & MUNCHKIN MINYAN: Sunday, March 20th, at 4:30 pm, at the Roller Skating Palladium, Seabright Ave. in Santa Cruz. $10/skater; max $25 per family, in advance. ($12/skater; max $30 family, at the door). RSVP to Sarah Brown at: by March 13th. *** We need a commitment from 30 skaters to make this event happen ***] Purim Customs: Masquerades and Hamantashen

A time-honored Purim custom is for children to dress up and disguise themselves - an allusion to the fact that the miracle of Purim was disguised in natural garments. This is also the significance behind a traditional Purim food, the hamantash - a pastry whose filling is hidden within a three-cornered crust. The Story: Purim, celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, commemorates the story of the Book of Esther. In the story, the Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 lands, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, banished for failing to follow his orders, he orchestrated a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A young Jewish woman, Esther, found favor in his eyes and became the new queen-though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality. Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther's cousin) defied the king's orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was incensed and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar-a date chosen by a lottery Haman made. Mordechai galvanized all the Jews, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G-d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued-granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies. On the day after, the Jews celebrated and instituted the holiday of Purim.

{Borrowed and modified from}

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