Menu JTA Search


  • Holiday Feature: Remembering Purim in Iraq; a Paradise of Parties and Pastries

    Like visions of date palms laden with fruit, Purim in Iraq was paradise for children. “We were excused from school and over the two-day holiday, we’d attend six parties,” says Nora Iny, who grew up in Baghdad during the 1960s. She is now a trustee of Congregation Bene Naharayim, an Iraqi synagogue in Jamaica Estates,… More ▸

  • Holiday Feature: Virtual Purim Brings Insight but No Substitute for Megillah

    This Purim, the Internet is putting a new twist on the Scroll of Esther. Revelers preparing to celebrate the springtime holiday can use the World Wide Web for a deeper understanding of the Megillah, or scroll, which tells the story of the fourth-century-B.C.E. redemption of the Jews of Persia. Purim begins March 1 this year,… More ▸

  • Purim Feature: Three-cornered Pastries Come with Range of Fillings

    Purim, the joyous holiday celebrating deliverance from Haman’s intended massacre, is celebrated with the reading of the megillah, the Book of Esther, in the synagogue. It is followed by carnivals with people in costume, and the sending of shalach manot — small packages of sweets — to relatives and friends. Hamantashen, the traditional three-cornered sweet… More ▸

  • Suicide Bomber Claims Lives of Cafe Patrons on Purim Eve

    There were many customers last Friday afternoon at Tel Aviv’s Cafe Apropos, including children dressed in Purim costumes, when the young man carrying a duffel bag weaved his way among the tables. Eyewitnesses later said that the man seemed strange as he looked for an empty table, finally choosing one in the center of the… More ▸

  • Purim Feature (3): Purim Replete with Lessons About Helping Jewish State

    Kabbalists have long compared Purim to Yom (Ha)Kippurim — the Day of Atonement/Repentance. (Note the Hebrew pun — Yom Ki-purim, a day like Purim.) This year, American Jewish leadership should apply this idea literally. They should use the occasion to declare mea culpa and apologize to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli electorate. What… More ▸

  • Purim Feature (4): Preparing Purim ‘props’ Can Be a Family Activity

    Here are some ideas to get the family ready for this festive day. Shalach Manos Cups Supplies: 3 1/2-inch white, hard, plastic birthday cups, available at party supply stores paint markers in various colors pencil roll of cellophane paper or netting fabric ribbon With a pencil, sketch the words “Happy Purim” around the cup. Draw… More ▸

  • Purim Feature (2): Emotional Growth Can Result from Wearing a Mask on Purim

    The invitation to the Purim party is explicit: “Preferable: Come in costume. Acceptable: Masquerade in a mask. Minimally admissible: Bring a bonnet.” Does one grumble and groan, and finally leave the house in street clothes? Does one rush to pull together a clever and exciting costume, an expression of some inner urge? Does one dutifully… More ▸

  • Purim Feature (1): Children Bearing Gifts of Food Central to Carnival-like Holiday

    Purim, a favorite holiday for many, is characterized by parties, carnivals, costumes, singing, dancing and as with all holidays, special foods. Celebrated just one month before Passover, it is a good opportunity to use up flour and leavening agents in the preparation of some of these special dishes. And at this time of feasting and… More ▸

  • Behind the Headlines: a Year Without Purim; No Parades, Only Funerals

    Many Israeli schoolchildren will remember 1996 as the year without Purim. In deference to the victims of this week’s suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, schools and synagogues canceled their annual Purim spiels and parties. Usually brimming with little Queen Esthers, Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles, downtown Jerusalem this year was nearly devoid of… More ▸

  • Behind the Headlines: Purim Tale Reflects Tensions in Recent Terrorist Bombings

    The timing of Monday’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv could not have been more striking. It was the day before Purim, the Jewish calendar’s most passionately joyous holiday, when for the fourth time in nine days a Palestinian suicide bomber aligned with the fundamentalist Hamas destroyed the lives of innocents. There are remarkable parallels between… More ▸