Days of Feasting and Gladness

Celebrating Purim

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Commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people in ancient Persia where a plot had been formed to destroy them— Purim is a Jewish holiday that has its roots in the Biblical Book of Esther.

According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus, planned to kill all the Jews of Persia, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther, the Queen of Persia. That day of deliverance became a celebration of feasting and rejoicing as decreed in the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther (Esther 9:22): “[…] that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” Purim is therefore celebrated among Jews by:

  • Reading the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther
  • Celebrating with Purim carnivals and parades
  • Participating in or viewing a Purim shpiel or play, which acts out the Purim story
  • Exchanging gifts of food and drink with friends
  • Donating to charity
  • Eating a celebratory meal known as a se’udat Purim
  • Baking and eating hamantaschen, a traditional three-cornered cookie in the shape of Haman’s hat

Help children prepare for Purim by making costumes, asking them to weigh in on which charities to support. Click here to learn how to make home-made groggers, the noise-makers used during the reading of the Megillah. For more ways to introduce Purim to young readers, visit the Kar-Ben blog for Purim-related crafts and activities.

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Sammy Spider’s First Purim by Sylvia A. Rouss

When Sammy Spider sees Josh cutting out fabric for a costume and spies Mrs. Shapiro baking hamantaschen, he wants to help Josh get ready for Purim. Instead, he gets stuck inside a grogger! How will he escape?

Barnyard Purim by Kelly Terwilliger

Purim is a topsy-turvy time, even on the farm. The animals decide to stage a Purim play, and Chicken assigns the parts. Blushing Duck is Queen Esther, Silly Horse is Ahashuerus, and Bearded Goat is Mordechai. But when they try to transform Shy Little Sheep into mean-looking Haman, something unexpected happens!

The Queen Who Saved Her People by Tilda Balsley

The Purim story has never been more fun! This lavishly rhyming tale is a wonderful read-aloud book, and its color-coded dialogue is perfect for Reader’s Theater performances.

The Purim Surprise by Lesley Simpson

It seems Naomi’s mother has forgotten her birthday, but delivering Purim treats to the neighbors brings Naomi something special.

It’s Purim Time! by Latifa Berry Kropf

In the fifth installment of this popular holiday series, preschoolers dress up and act out the story of Purim, make groggers (noise makers) and hamantaschen (three-cornered cookies), and deliver shalach manot (Purim treats).

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