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Published: Saturday, 3/7/2009

Purim celebrations begin at synagogues Sunday

The story of Queen Esther will be celebrated with carnivals, skits, and feasts starting Sundayand continuing next week during the Jewish holiday of Purim.

The festive holiday commemorates Queen Esther's foiling of a plot to annihilate all Jews in Persia in the 5th century B.C. The queen pleaded with King Ahasuerus to have mercy on the Jews, and Haman, the king's advisor who had plotted their demise, was executed on the gallows that he had built for the Jews.

Celebrations begin tomorrow with Purim carnivals at three local synagogues - Congregation Etz Chayim in Toledo, and The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim and Congregation B'nai Israel in Sylvania.

The Temple, a Reform Jewish congregation, will present its annual Purimspiel, or musical parody, at 5 p.m. tomorrow. A spoof on Elvis "The King" Presley, it is titled "Viva Megillah: The Life and Times of 'The King' of Shushan."

B'nai Israel, a Conservative Jewish congregation, will present "Megillah Mia!," a parody of the movie Mama Mia!, at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Purim starts at sundown Monday, and among the events celebrating the holiday will be readings of the Megillah, or scroll of Esther, at all three local synagogues.

Etz Chayim, an Orthodox congregation, will have a Megillah reading at 7:35 p.m. Monday and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A gourmet pancake party and Megillah reading will be featured at Chabad House-Lubavitch's fourth annual Purim Community Feast, set for 5:15 p.m. Tuesday at Etz Chayim.

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