February used to be just a short month in the middle of winter. It was pretty uneventful, cold and usually over in a flash. When I converted to Judaism I remember thinking how nice it was that February held one of the most fun holidays Judaism has to offer. Purim has all of the best elements–candy, noisemakers, carnivals, spiels, and costumes. The first time I attended Purim services I was nailed in the head with a Sunkist Fruit Gem and spent the remainder of the time searching the floor for more. That year, February became a little sweeter and a little more redeeming.
And then I laid pregnant and fearful on a recliner for eight long weeks and all I could think about was February. Because come February I would have successfully carried my first baby to 35 weeks and the chances of him being born healthy were excellent. With every passing day that February fear melted and joy increased. Read the rest of this entry →
Purim was never my favorite holiday for many of the same reasons that I never liked Halloween. I was embarrassed to dress up. I worried that other kids would laugh at me. I never liked my home-made costumes. And having to do this twice a year instead of just on Halloween made it all the more painful. My husband felt exactly the same way growing up in Israel, though he was spared the extra torture of Halloween.
And I can tell that my kids share some of that Purim apprehension. Especially now that we’re living in Israel and it’s not just one evening when you put on your costume and go to shul. It’s a week of Black & White Day and Face Paint Day and Wear an Accessory Day (I’m sorry, huh?) and Polka Dot Day and Pajama Day. And finally, Wear Your Costume to School Day. That’s right. Six days of chaotic mornings deciding whether or not to participate in the Purim revelry du jour. It’s too much for this mama. Although at this point my oldest, who is 8, knows his tolerance for teasing and what he’s willing to endure in the name of self expression. He learned that lesson two Purims ago while we were still living in the States. Read the rest of this entry →
Our friends at Shalom Sesame have done it again! Gearing up for Purim, they’ve just released a new video, and this one stars actress and comedian Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids, Up All Night). Cookie Monster also makes a special appearance, and you just might be able to guess what kind of cookie he’s eating. Check it out below.
If you’re anything like me (and by that I mean totally unprepared for holidays until they are sitting on top of you) it can help to start thinking about Purim, well, last week. But now will do. It’s not officially until a week from Sunday, but if you want to take part in some of these fun crafts with the kiddos, it’s time to start planning.
The basis of Purim is the story of Queen Esther, recorded in the megillah, also known as the Book of Esther. Esther is an orphan, raised by her uncle Mordechai, ultimately plucked from obscurity to be the queen of Persia by the drunken King Ahasverosh. Her story involves secrecy, intrigue, violence, an evil villain, sex, and ultimately, a raucous celebration.
Intrigued? You can read the whole Purim story here.
Purim is a week and half away (starting on February 23rd) and if you’re looking for more ways to pump your kids up for this joyous holiday (besides costumes and noisemakers) there are some great books out there that we recommend.
All of these books are PJ Library books, meaning you can get them FOR FREE, along with other fantastic Jewish children’s books, every month. If you live in New York, you can sign up for PJ Library through Kveller by clicking here. For everyone else, you can find your local community here.
But enough with that shpiel (get it?). Onto the books!
The Shapiro family is getting ready for Purim. Josh is making a grogger to take to the synagogue Megillah reading. Sammy Spider wants to participate, but as Sammy’s mother reminds him, “Spiders don’t celebrate holidays; spiders spin webs.” This time Sammy’s curiosity gets him stuck inside a grogger, spinning noisily among the beans. How will he escape? Ages 5 and up. Read the rest of this entry →
Purim is getting closer and closer (February 23rd to be exact) and we’ve still got costumes on our minds. If your family is planning on going to any parades, parties, or Purim celebrations, we’ve got a few ideas for family costumes that you just might like. These collaborative costumes are super cute for both adults and kids, and it’s the one time of year wear it isn’t totally lame for a family to sport matching outfits. Enjoy!
My native-born oldest son, on the other hand, has no such hang-ups. To him, Purim (and Halloween) are the two greatest days on the calendar, as they allow him to get creative and design and construct his own costumes. (The rest of the year, he has to settle for merely dressing–and criticizing–me. When I was getting ready to attend a function at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my then 11-year-old looked the outfit I’d selected up and down, and dismissed, “Too loud for Carnegie Hill.”)
He’s been playing Edith Head since he was about 6 years old, all on his own, with no help from me. Which is how I can say with confidence that the following are, as they say, kid-tested/mother-approved Do-It-Yourself Costumes Easy Enough For a Child To Make (because they actually were): Read the rest of this entry →
Yes, that’s a young Mayim BIalik all dressed up for Purim.
We really love any excuse to show off this photo of young Mayim sporting a homemade kimono for Purim. If you’re looking for some fun DIY ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, take a look at Mayim’s 6 tips for making your own outfits at home. Also, she reveals some of her own childhood costumes which included a gypsy, a 1950′s “Greaser” (more than once), and ballet recital costumes. And then there was the year she simply went in her Brownie uniform. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Read on…
The centerpiece of Purim is a big feast, a seudah, to be eaten with one’s family and friends during the day of Purim. This feast harkens back to the banquet that Esther held with King Ahaseurus and Haman as her honored guests. Also on Purim day, it’s customary to deliver packages of treats to friends, family, and the poor.
Basically, that means lots of delicious food on Purim. Here at Kveller we’ve got your back with lots of excellent Purim recipes. Read the rest of this entry →