Religious School Monthly Message

Nancy Hersh's March Message

This month we will be celebrating the fun holiday of Purim.  While most of us like to eat hamantashen, there are actually different theories to why we eat these delicious three-cornered cookies.  Some say they represent Haman’s ears, while others say that they represent the three-cornered hat that Haman wore, or Haman’s pockets. In some countries, it is the custom to eat Purim cakes that are shaped like dolls, and you’re supposed to eat the head first to symbolize “de-heading” Haman. While most of us eat the traditional jelly, poppy seed, or chocolate filled ones, if you’d like to be adventurous, check out this website for some really different flavors.

It is also customary to give gifts of food (Mishloach Manot) to friends, to give gifts to the poor (Matanot l’evyonim),  and to come to the synagogue to hear the reading of the Megillah (Scroll of Esther).   And let’s not forget the wonderful Purim shpiel, starring our own talented CBH actors and actresses. I’m sure this year’s performance will be spectacular!!! 

Here’s an interesting story that many of you may not know. The story of Purim takes place in Persia, which today is known as Iran.  In the Iranian city of Hamadan, known for its Persian rugs, there is a mausoleum which houses the graves of Esther and Mordechai. When there was a large Jewish population in Iran, the Jews took the holiday of Purim very seriously. Both the observant and secular Jews celebrated Purim.  They hung effigies of Haman in their yards, and then burned them.

After the revolution in 1979, many Iranian Jews came to live in the United States.
When they saw how Purim was being observed, they had a real culture shock. They had never seen a Purim Carnival or a Purim costume parade.  But they did have customs that weren’t so dissimilar to our way of celebrating Purim.  They didn’t know about shpiels, but they wrote and sang their own songs about the villainous Haman. They didn’t give tzedakah, but they did give coins and gifts to children.  They didn’t even eat hamantashen, but instead they ate homemade halva, which was the most widespread symbol of Purim.

Though Purim is considered to be a minor holiday, and one that is filled with silliness, it reminds us of our victory over oppression, and joyously affirms our Jewish survival.

Dates to remember:   
Sat., March 4                 RS Grades K-6
Bat Mitzvah – Angela Imanuel 
Sat., March 11                RS Grades K-7
                    Family Education – Concepts of God
Sun., March 12             Confirmation Class @ 11:00  
Sat., March 18                 RS Grades K-6
Bat Mitzvah – Rachel Bear
Sat., March 25                RS Grades 2-7 Chuggim
                    Grade 7 Breakfast

Fri, 24 March 2017 26 Adar 5777