Purim: This joyous holiday celebrates the courage and ingenuity of Esther, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible. Encouraged by her Uncle Mordecai, she foils the wicked Haman’s plot to annihilate our people.
We read the story from a מגלה, a Megillah, or scroll, that physically resembles–and thus parodies–the official orders that the Persian King Achashveirosh and Haman have promulgated. As we do so, we use a gragger (Yiddish for “noise-maker”) to drown out the villain’s name.
At CAH, we have developed our own special set of services for Purim, replete with a Megillah reading that is part Hebrew and part English, Purim singing, the eating of hamantaschen (traditional three-cornered pastries), dressing in costumes, all of which help us to celebrate our people’s resilience. We send משלוח מנות, Mishloach Manot, gifts of foods, to our entire community, so that all can participate in the joy of the holiday.