Many children use their Halloween costumes only once. But for Jewish kids there is another opportunity – Purim.
in the biblical book of Esther, Purim celebrates the deliverance of the
Jews from death at the hands of Haman, the royal advisor to King
Ahasuerus of Persia. After a Jew refused to bow to him, Haman tricked
the king into signing a decree to have all the Jews in the Persian
“It is the celebration of the defeat of hatred,”
said Rabbi Matthew Futterman, of Anshe Emet Synagogue, located on the
corner of Halsted Street and Broadway.
In the story, the king’s
wife, the Jewish Queen Esther, convinced him to reverse his decision and
instead to condemn those who act against the Jews.
were able to change their fate, the tradition is that Jews celebrate by
changing the way they look,” Rabbi Futterman said.
the 14th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Adar, Purim is
commemorated through sending gifts to the poor, sharing food and treats
with friends and family, and dressing up in costumes.
remember one year when I was 6 I dressed up as a cowboy and I found
someone that was dressed as an Indian,” Miles Howell, 22, said. “We
spent the whole night terrorizing the party.”
when festivities can be seen outside as Spidermen and Sleeping Beauties
roam the streets looking for candy, Purim is generally celebrated in the
synagogue or a central meeting place with a party or carnival.
nice to be in the synagogue and let your hair down,” Rabbi Futterman
said. “Most of us [rabbis] are very prim and proper in our services, but
we are able to act out a bit at Purim.”
Anshe Emet will host a
Purim carnival Sunday, complete with face painting, inflatables and a
silent auction. The synagogue also will release a Purim video this week
explaining the story of Purim to the sounds of Gangnam Style, a Korean
pop song that has become a viral Internet sensation this year.
“We hope that all the kids will think that their rabbis are cool now,” Futterman said.
But all jokes aside, this fun holiday is used to remember an aspect in Jewish history that is not necessarily celebratory.
kind of collective punishment is the type of ugly racism that we don’t
like to see in any community,” said Rabbi Michael Weinberg of Temple
Beth Israel, at Dempster Street and Monticello Avenue.
Mattenson, 62, a father of two, said in comparison with when he was
growing up Jewish, children are studying the Bible less and less and
don’t connect its teaching to their own lives as much as they should.
have a holiday that is less serious and somber in tone makes it
[biblical teachings] more palatable for kids to learn about,” Mattenson