We celebrated Purim last week. For those who don’t know about the holiday, the festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.”
The Persian empire of the 4th century BCE extended over 127 countries, and all the Jews were its subjects. When King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for failing to follow his orders, he held a beauty pageant to find a new queen. A Jewish girl, Esther, found ‘favor in his eyes’ and became the new queen—though she refused to divulge the identity of her nationality.
Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Mordechai, the leader of the Jews (and Esther’s cousin), defied the king’s orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman was extremely angry and convinced the king to issue a decree ordering the extermination of all the Jews on the 13th of Adar—a date chosen by a lottery Haman made.
Mordechai brought all the Jews together, convincing them to repent, fast and pray to G‑d. Meanwhile, Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a feast. At the feast, Esther revealed to the king her Jewish identity. Haman was hanged, Mordechai was appointed prime minister in his stead, and a new decree was issued—granting the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies. On the 13th of Adar the Jews mobilized and killed many of their enemies. On the 14th of Adar they rested and celebrated.
Purim is celebrated by giving gifts of food and drink (mishloach manot), giving charity to the poor (mattanot la-evyonim), a celebratory meal, and public recitation of the Scroll of Esther (kriat ha-megillah). Other customs include drinking wine, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration
Purim is celebrated throughout Israel, with most towns, cities and villages having some sort of festivities. In Herzlia, it was a simple celebration with some music and games. Very simple and very family friendly. The images below are from the celebration. Today I look at the young people and how they dressed up to celebrate the holiday.
(Reminder: Click on any image below to begin slideshow!)