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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2002

Purim festivities set to begin


Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the foiling of a plot to kill the Jews, will be observed locally starting tomorrow and continuing through Tuesday.

The holiday, one of the most festive on the Jewish calendar, recalls the story of Queen Esther, who reveals a scheme by the king's adviser, Haman, to do away with the Jews. Haman is said to have rolled purim, or dice, to determine the day of his deed.

When the king learns of the plot from Esther, who also is a Jew, he orders Haman killed.

Purim is celebrated with readings of the Megillah, or scroll of Esther, during which those listening are encouraged to stomp their feet and use noisemakers, called groggers, at the mention of the name of Haman. The holiday also is observed by eating “hamantaschen,” pastries in the shape of Haman's hat, and putting on a Purimspiel, a play based on the story of Purim.

Locally, Purim carnivals will be held tomorrow at Temple B'nai Israel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Congregation Etz Chayim from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and at The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim in Sylvania from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, Temple B'nai Israel will have a pre-Purim dinner at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by reading of the Megillah at 5:45 and a Purimspiel at 6:30. The temple also will have a Megillah reading at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The Temple in Sylvania will have a Megillah reading and pizza dinner at 6 p.m. Monday.

Congregation Etz Chayim will have Purim services at 6 p.m. Monday, including a Megillah reading at 6:45, and a Megillah reading at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Chabad House will sponsor a Megillah reading and masquerade for children, plus singing and dancing with live music, at 6:45 p.m. Monday.

Because Jews are required to hear a Megillah reading on Monday night and Tuesday during the day, Chabad House will visit homebound people and read the Megillah for them.

Rabbi Yossi Shemtov said Chabad already has agreed to help a local resident who will be returning from a long trip as Purim is beginning by reading the Megillah for him at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

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