Columbia Jewish Congregation (CJC) members will be readying their costumes, getting out their groggers, and baking hamantaschen in preparation for what could be called the wackiest of Jewish holidays — at least, that’s how we’ve come to celebrate it. Their Saturday, February 23 Purim celebration is a community event, all are welcome to attend.
Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar. Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the "pur" (the lot) against the Jews yet failed to destroy them.
The most important Purim custom is reading the Purim Story from the Scroll of Esther, also called the Megillah. Whenever Haman’s (the villain's) name is mentioned people will boo, howl, hoot and shake noisemakers (groggers) to express their dislike of him. Hearing the Megillah reading is a commandment that applies to both women and men.
Unlike more serious synagogue occasions, both children and adults often attend the Megillah reading in costume. Traditionally people would dress up as characters from the Purim story, for example, as Esther or Mordechai. However, nowadays people enjoy dressing up as all manner of different characters: Harry Potter, Batman, wizards, you name it! The tradition of dressing up is based upon the way Esther concealed her Jewish identity at the beginning of the Purim Story. At the conclusion of the Megillah reading, many synagogues will put on plays (shpiels) that reenact the Purim Story and poke fun at the villain.
CJC is no different! In addition to a special Tot Purim celebration, and Megillah reading, the congregation is putting Haman on trial, complete with a judge, attorneys and a jury!
Purim has become a chance for Jewish communities to let loose, be a little creative. The community is invited to join in this entertaining, fun celebration!
6:30pm Tot Purim Celebration
7:30pm Megillah Reading
For more information about Columbia Jewish Congregation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-730-6044. Visit CJC online, www.columbiajewish.org.