Once a year, through burlesque, Jews are given license to deviate from the rules and norms that helped their communities survive in the face of adversity. But ultimately, the disorder associated with Purim serves as a dramatic justification of the need for rules in our lives.
We know that it takes more than fun and games to make the Purim Carnival a success. Here are 6 ways to help your teens make the Purim Carnival a magical experience for everyone.
The faces in the photo that hangs in the new synagogue in Bad Segeberg haunt me. They seared themselves into my brain the first time I saw it, and they do not let go.
What were these 26 souls thinking when – in hiding – they celebrated Purim in 1936? Their eyes and their smiles betray fear, and their resolve to celebrate the festival with joy.
I must be honest. Purim is not my favorite holiday. Truth is, I was never a big costume person. Probably a therapist’s delight!
Nonetheless, I was a “good” mom and put aside my own mishagas (craziness) and helped my daughters with Purim costumes and parades so that we made it through enough years dressing up as characters from the story. However, it wasn't too long before they both expressed a similar “love” for costumes and parades and so Purim became a minor holiday in our house.
I remember the Purim celebrations of my youth: homemade cardboard crowns wrapped in aluminum foil; groggers fashioned from Styrofoam cups, dried beans, and masking tape; my brothers dressed in bathrobes, beards and mustaches sketched on their faces. As in many other congregations, our Purim carnival was run by the youth group as a fundraiser, and when I reached high school, I became a planner instead of a participant. We planned games and activities that sounded like fun to us teenagers and would be enjoyed by the religious school kids who were our target audience. Neither preschool children nor their parents were part of the planning equation.
Later this month, we will read and commemorate the story of Purim and celebrate Esther’s bravery with revelry and joy.
While the Purim celebrations and unpacking of lessons continue, we continue to explore other ways to celebrate - including partnering with our "twin" sisterhood in Israel.
Purim is coming, a wild holiday that holds its place alongside Yom Kippur and Passover as a dramatic story in the Hebrew Bible’s accounts of redemption and revelation. But, unlike these other stories, Megillat Esther does not mention God. How can this be? According to the ancient rabbis, God is hidden.