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Jewish Holidays

Tishah B’Av

Alternate Spelling: 

"Ninth of Av."

A day of mourning for the destruction of the First Temple and the Second temple in Jerusalem in ancient times. It is observed as a minor fast day. It falls in late July or early August and is observed in some, but not all, Reform communities.



A main character of the Purim story, Mordechai was Esther’s cousin, who raised her after her parents died. He saves the king’s life when he overhears a plot against the king. Mordechai also incurs the wrath of Haman by refusing to bow to him, which leads Haman to plot to kill all the Jews of Persia. 



The king’s vizier (adviser), a main character in the Purim story. Haman wants everyone in the kingdom to bow down to him, but Mordechai (a Jew) refuses. This leads Haman to decide to kill all the Jews, and he convinces the king to allow the plan. Only the intervention of Esther prevents Haman from carrying out his plan, and in the end, Haman is instead hung on the gallows he had erected for Mordechai.



Hero of the Purim story. A young Jewish girl living in the capital city, Shushan, she is chosen by King Ahashverosh to be his new queen. She doesn’t tell him, however, that she is Jewish. Finally, when the lives of all the Jews of Persia are in danger, Esther reveals herself, and the king agrees to save the Jews in order to save his queen.



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