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As a child, Purim was my favorite of the Jewish holidays to celebrate at my
temple. While most of the Jewish holidays were rather somber, Purim required
festive celebration. First, everyone was given groggers (noisemakers) as they
came into the sanctuary. The entire Book of Esther was read out loud or
performed as a play. Whenever Haman’s name was read, we made noise and
lots of it! We yelled “boo” and hissed, stomped our feet, and used the
noisemakers to blot out Haman’s name.
At the end of the service, a collection was taken for those in need, as instructed
by Mordecai in Esther 9:22. After the service, various carnival-type games were
set up for the children. Small prizes were awarded to the winners. Many
people, especially children, wore costumes, dressed as kings and queens.
The name of this holiday, Purim (pronounced Poo-reem, with the emphasis on
the second syllable) refers to the lots that Haman cast to determine the date for
the destruction of the Jews. Rather than a sad occasion, however, this date has
become a celebration, as Jewish people around the world remember how G-d,
through his servants Mordecai and Esther, saved the Jewish people from
Purim is celebrated on the Adar 14 and 15 of the Jewish calendar. This year,
Purim starts on March 7 at sundown.
Key Scripture Verses: Esther 4:12-16, 9:20-22 Suggested Activities:
Tell the story of Purim as “reader’s theatre” using the script that
follows.* Assign roles and take turns reading the story out loud. If you have
older children in your group, you might assign this task to them letting them
create simple props and act out the story. Make sure to make noise each time
Haman’s name is mentioned!
Templates for creating simple noisemakers and masks are included. * These
crafts would be appropriate for preschool and elementary-aged children.
Let children to dress up as kings and queens.
Bake and serve hamentaschen, the traditional cookie eaten on Purim. (See
included recipe.*) This delicious three-sided cookie is said to represent
Haman’s three-sided hat.
Collect donations of non-perishable food items to be donated to the Food
Pantry at gracespring.
Despite the odds, Esther made a difference. How do your actions make a
difference, whether for good or for bad? (i.e., Romans 5:19)
The Book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not explicitly mention
the name of G-d. How can G-d and His salvation be seen in Esther? How can
G-d’s work of salvation be seen in your own life?
Hatred, discrimination, and religious persecution continues to be a problem
today for both Jews and Christians around the world. What did Jesus say about
hatred? (i.e., Matthew 5:43-44) How can we combat these problems?
Additional recommended Reading: For more about Purim and its relevance to
believers, see Chapter 13 of The Feasts of the L-rd: G-d’s Prophetic Calendar
from Calvary to the Kingdom by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal (copyright
1997; published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
*From Handbook of Bible Festivals by Galen Peterson (copyright 1997;
published by Standard Publishing). Copied by permission.
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