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Purim

At the most basic level, Purim is a raucous celebration of the story of Esther. In the biblical book of Esther, the Jews of ancient Persia faced certain annihilation, but they not only survived, but turned the tables on their oppressors. More information on Purim can be found here.

On the lived level, Purim is a raucous holiday filled with groggers, skits, costumes, hamentashen, alcohol and more. It’s a day when everything is reversed and we fully acknowledge and even celebrate the sheer absurdity of existence. 

  • Shalach Manot: One of the central and loveliest customs of Purim is sending Shlach Manot - gifts to friends and neighbors to celebrate the liberation of Purim.  Our Purim Bag Committee will be putting together and delivering Purim bags filled with tasty treats and goodies; Hamantaschen, chocolate, snacks as well as other items to help BHA Members celebrate Purim. 
  • Matanot L'Evyonim: So that nobody is left out of the celebrations, it is a mitzvah to give gifts of food to the poor in our community. It is considered particularly meritorious to give these gifts directly to those in need, but if you would like, worthy places to contribute are the BHA Discretionary Fund, the Hudson Valley Food Bank or American Jewish World Service.   We also will be donating 10% of our Annual Purim Fundraiser to three local food pantries.

Finally, on the philosophical level, Purim raises complicated questions about fate, power, gender and more. The book does not directly refer to the Holy One, but the rabbinic tradition understands the Divine presence to be hidden in the book. Ultimately, it is the book's giving of hope to an oppressed and scattered people that they will prevail, no matter how desperate their circumstances, that has made the Book of Esther so beloved in the Jewish community.

Purim comes at the end (we hope!) of winter, pointing the way to spring and Passover. But while that story is a celebration of the Holy One leading the Jews from exile to their own land, Purim reflects the situation of a minority people surviving in a world of moral uncertainty by their own wits.

All BHA Members, Preschool families, Masa families and staff will receive a Purim greeting letter. You can contribute by placing an order and adding your name to the greeting letters of friends, fellow students, teachers, clergy or the whole community!  Purim greeting letters will be mailed in the days before Purim, so check your mailbox to see who sent you a greeting!  

ORDER PURIM GREETINGS

In fulfilling the mitzvah of feeding the hungry on Purim, we will be donating 10% of what we raise to our local food pantries: the Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen, Mutual Aid Beacon & Fareground. Last year our Purim greetings raised over $5700 and we donated $570 to our local food pantries! 

Sun, May 26 2024 18 Iyyar 5784