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Mi she’nichnas Adar, Marbim B’simcha – When the month of Adar comes in, increase your joy.

On Sunday we will celebrate the new month of Adar. On Adar 14 we will celebrate the festive and joyous holiday of Purim.

What is Purim? We take out the Scroll of Esther and read it publicly. Using the information from the Book of Esther, we learn the customs that are related to the holiday. The Scroll of Esther tells the story of the king of Persia, King Achashverosh, and his relationship with the Jews living in his kingdom. One of the king’s courtiers, Haman, is a virulent anti-Semite who convinces the king that all the Jews should be killed for their evil, treasonous ways. Mordechai the Jew and his niece Esther scheme to thwart the plan, and instead it is Haman and his family that are executed on the very day Haman planned to kill the Jews. What the story is really about is the triumph of a small people who simply wanted to live peacefully and observe their religion. It is also a story for us, the Jews living in the Diaspora. It is a message for us, that even when we have assimilated into the local society, there will always be those who seek to destroy us. To get all the intrigue and details of the story, you will have to come to one of the public readings of the scroll.

There are many wonderfully fun customs associated with the holiday. Adults, and not just the children, put on costumes from Mordechai and Esther to modern day heroes. We eat special triangle shape cookies representing the hat that the evil Haman wore. The cookies are called HAMANtashen. There are also two lesser-known customs. One is Matanot La’evyonim or gifts (tzedakah) for the poor and the other is Mishloach Manot, gift packages that one exchanges with a friend. The gift packages are made of ready-to-eat goodies and are exchanged with two or more friends. This practice is dictated in the scroll itself and was meant to show how the 14th day of Adar went from a day of mourning when all the Jews thought they would be killed, to a day of festivity when Haman is killed instead.

This year, Purim falls out on Saturday night and Sunday March 11-12

We are trying something a little non-traditional this year. Saturday night we will hold the megillah reading in the backroom of Bad Beat Brewing Co. at 7380 Eastgate Rd #110, Henderson, NV 89011.beginning at 7 PM. All ages are invited, only those 21+ are able to partake of the beer.

On Sunday we will have our annual USY led Purim Carnival and a special BBQ to kick off our spring fundraising campaign. The Carnival/BBQ begins at 11:30. Our ECC age children and families will have a special “megillah reading” at 11:00 on Sunday morning.

Hag Purim Shamayach – Happy Purim!!

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