Monday, February 1, 2016

Let's Prepare for Purim 2016!

Do you know what the FOUR Purim Mitzvot you can do to celebrate Purim?
Read on, while Rebecca Elkus-Ferst, Chavaya Director, shares with you!

Purim is headed our way in the month of March, and it’s a special holiday with obligations (yes, obligations) that are really fun to take part in. We can’t wait to celebrate this incredibly enjoyable holiday with you and your families, and with the rest of the community. See the cover for the schedule of Purim events. Did you know that there are FOUR Purim Mitzvot that you can do to celebrate the holiday?  

READING THE MEGILLAH is one of the four mitzvot (commandments) of Purim. We hope you’ll join us at Temple Israel for our Purim Schpiel and Megillah reading on Wednesday evening, March 23 at 7:30 p.m.

A SEUDAT MITZVAH, a festive meal or party, is another of the four mitzvot of Purim. We hope you’ll have a chance to celebrate with friends and family! Many people eat hamantaschen (oznei haman) on Purim as well. 

MISHLOACH MANOT is the mitzvah of sending food gifts to at least one other family. The only rule is that it should consist of at least two different kinds of food. It’s a great way to connect with other members of the community! You’ll notice the handy flyer in this month’s Temple Topics which tells you all about this year’s Mishloach Manot fundraiser for Chavaya or you can click here!. If you have not purchased Mishloach Manot in past years we hope you will take the opportunity to do so this year. Each bag purchased helps support Chavaya programming. Please purchase your bags and bring Purim joy to your friends and family while supporting our program. Want to do that now? Click here! And, help support Temple Israel and Chavaya!

MATANOT L’EVYONIM, or gifts to the poor, is another Purim obligation. In the Purim story in the Book of Esther, we learn that people sent two kinds of gifts as part of their celebration – to their friends (Mishloach Manot) and to the poor (Matanot l’Evyonim). It’s a beautiful part of Judaism that we celebrate our victories and successes by giving Tzedakah to those in need (the religious obligation to do what is right and just). There are many values we can learn from the Purim story as well, and among them are that we can surmount evil and that everyone – both girls and boys – can act in a heroic way. The heroes of the Purim story are women who don’t give up on what is right and men who stand up for what they believe in – and we can all learn a lot from that! We also learn that while Judaism in the home is important, our community is a crucial part of who we are. We are obligated to be good friends (giving gifts) and to take care of the poor (monetary gifts), and even to have a party and invite other people (seudat mitzvah). So as we get ready to celebrate Purim, let’s focus on the values we can learn together as one community!

Rebecca Elkus-Ferst
Chavaya Director

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