Fun-filled Purim festivals planned


POSTED: Saturday, March 07, 2009

Jewish communities will celebrate a chapter of biblical history that ended well with lighthearted Purim festivals next week.

The Purim holiday commemorates the story of Esther, a Jewish woman who became queen in the Persian kingdom in about 450 B.C. She is the heroine of the story for persuading the king to spare her people. But the focus of the fun is usually Haman, the prime minister whose plan to destroy the Jews was thwarted. When the scroll of Esther—the Megillah—is read aloud at services, the congregation traditionally uses noisemakers, boos and whistles to drown out the sound of Haman's name.

» At Chabad of Hawaii the festivities will begin at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow with a session of baking hamantashen, triangular pastries named for “;Haman's hat.”; The cost is $3. The Orthodox congregation meets on the second floor of the Ala Moana Hotel.

“;Purim in the '60s”; is the theme of Chabad's Tuesday party. Adults and children are encouraged to wear 1960s attire to the festivities, which begin at 5 p.m. with the reading of the Megillah. A kosher buffet dinner will be served. The cost is $20 for adults, $10 for children, with a student discount available. Call 735-8161 for reservations.

The Megillah will also be read at 7 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday.

» “;The Megillah According to Disney”; will be the theme of the Monday evening celebration at Temple Emanu-El, 2550 Pali Highway. The program begins at 5:45 p.m. with a potluck meal. The Megillah will be read at the 6:45 p.m. Erev Purim service.

The evening will be topped off with a musical play depicting the Megillah with classic and contemporary tunes from Disney movies. The 7:30 p.m. performance, directed by cantor Ken Aronowitz and Rebecca Simmons, features the Not Ready for Bimah Players, actors and musicians from the congregation. Call 595-7521 for information on the potluck.