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Purim

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Fabric Collage

Vashti's Story: A Midrash

by Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Rabbis Rachel Bearman and Paul Kipnes retell the story of Vashti in her own voice in this “Midrashic Monologue.”

Topics: Feminism, Purim
Chocolate Tahini Hamentaschen (Final Photo)

Hamentaschen with Strawberry Balsalmic and Chocolate Tahini Fillings

by Lisa Yelsey

Celebrating Purim involves listening to the reading of the scroll of Esther and donating to charity. It also, crucially, involves eating hamentaschen. These recipes, inspired by my favorite fillings as a child, are a combination of sweet and savory, cutting the often overly-sweet jam and chocolate fillings with a little bit more depth of flavor.

Topics: Recipes, Purim
Daniella Shear Dressed as Queen Esther

Queen Esther: Quiet Leader

by Daniella Shear

Purim has always been ranked high on my list of favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love dressing up, eating hamantaschen, playing games, and winning prizes? In addition to my synagogue’s annual Purim carnival I also look forward to the megillah reading each year. I always found the story to be interesting, but as I’ve gotten older, my interpretation has evolved from one about a queen who saves her people (the Jews), to a complex narrative about a female leader.

Topics: Activism, Purim
Invitation to Fancy Dress Ball, Purim Association of New York City, 1881

On Purim and Women Teachers of Text

by Josh Weisman

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to this tradition.

Topics: Purim
Bella Abzug and Others in a Purim Play, New York City, 1934

Purim Poem: Mishloach Manot

by Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

One of my favorite practices on Purim is the mitzvah of mishloach manot– delivering gifts of food to friends and neighbors.

Topics: Purim

Jewish Diversity and Innovation: The View from the Kitchen

Discover how recipes can tell stories about Jewish history and its ever-changing rich cultural diversity.

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Discover how two remarkable Jewish women: The biblical figure, Esther, and the historical figure, Bella Abzug, both fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them achieve their goals.

"Vashti Refuses the King's Summons," 1878

Vashti, Purim, and Women's History Month

by  Shari Short

I have a vague recollection of the first time I learned about Vashti. I was sitting at circle time on a primary-colored rug in my pre-K class at Sunday school and was told, “Vashti was not nice to the King. She would not dance for the King.” And we all just nodded our heads in sympathy for King Ahashuarus. “Poor King.” We all thought, “Vashti is evil.”

Topics: Purim

Henrietta Szold sends nurses Rose Kaplan and Rachel Landy to Palestine to begin the work of Hadassah.

January 18, 1913
"This is what your group ought to do … You should do practical work in Palestine."

Death of Ruth Fredman Cernea, cultural anthropologist of Jews in Myanmar and Washington, DC

March 31, 2009

Ruth Fredman Cernea said, "Jewish humor is not silly, but it is absurd absurdity. It is the opposite of deep seriousness."

Miriasha Borsykowsky and Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox's Brave New Platform

by  Miriasha Borsykowsky

I consider myself a feminist, and I also strive to combat other axes of oppression in my daily life, but sometimes I fall through. Far too often, I’ll stay quiet when I hear someone make a transphobic comment or a misogynistic remark. Some days I’m really not up to challenging that person, but other times I just let myself believe that it’s not my battle, that it doesn’t matter, that someone else will take care of it.

Bella Abzug on the cover of "Life Magazine," June 9, 1972

Bella and Esther: If You've Got It, Flaunt It

by  Miriam Cantor-Stone

How did Esther and Bella Abzug make change in their communities? How have Jewish women used costumes to help them achieve their goals? What can these stories teach us about gender and Judaism today?

Topics: Purim

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Throughout history, activists have chosen different costumes and personas as strategic tools to help them stand up against injustice. Examine how the biblical figure Esther and the historical figure Bella Abzug fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them to achieve their goals. JWA staff will demonstrate ways to use the stories of these women in your classrooms as you prepare for Purim.
Kosher Camera

pJewishMisanthropy announces "Kosher Camera" that erases women in real time

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday eJewish Philanthropy released a special, satirical Purim edition of their usual newsletter called pJewishMisanthropy. The whole thing is absolutely hilarious--at least it should be to any of us working in the Jewish communal world who read often-vague articles about the future of "peoplehood," "Jewish innovation," "leadership," and "engagement" in the ever-changing Jewish American/Israeli landscape. Still, one story in particular caught my attention.

International Women's Day and Purim: Finding the connection

by  Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s.

Topics: Purim
Shira Kline and Jon Adam Ross, 2012

An “Extraordinary” Purim with Shira Kline and Jon Adam Ross

by Etta King Heisler

Having survived a blizzardy drive down dark, unfamiliar roads last Wednesday evening, I shook the cold and snowflakes from my coat and walked into a warm room at the Newton JCC.

Topics: Purim, Theater
Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)

Eating Jewish: Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)

by  Katherine Romanow

Hamantaschen are the signature food of Purim, and I definitely look forward to this time of year knowing that I’ll get to eat my fill of those delicious cookies.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Purim
Hamantashen

Cookie cleavage: How much is too much?

by  Preeva Tramiel

I took these pictures last Purim to illustrate a little-discussed aspect of the aspect of hamantashen baking: Cookie cleavage.

Topics: Food, Purim
College Costume Party

Purim, drinking, and consent: The Jewish community's role in preventing sexual violence

by  Chanel Dubofsky

In the end, I hung the plastic bag of condoms on the door handle of my hotel room.

Topics: Purim
Oznei Haman

Eating Jewish: Oznei Haman (Haman’s Ears)

by  Katherine Romanow

There are many Purim sweets that are modeled after Haman's anatomy or clothing.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Purim
Sambusak el Tawa (Iraqi Chickpea Turnovers)

Eating Jewish: Iraqi Purim Delicacies

by  Katherine Romanow

With preparation for Purim in full swing, there is no doubt that many people are thinking about Hamantaschen, which has become synonymous with this holiday in North America.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Purim
Gluten-free Bakery Style Hamantaschen

Gluten-free bakery style hamantaschen

by  Claire

These were my first Hamantaschen. What is a Hamantaschen, you might wonder? These cookies are little three-cornered wonders that puff up into bite-size pastries filled with any number of things, including jam, chocolate hazelnut spread, nuts, dates, and perhaps most commonly, poppy seed filling or prunes. Their triangular shape is sometimes called evocative of the ears of the villain of the holiday of Purim - you guessed it - Haman, who is defeated in the story as told in the Book of Esther.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Purim
Striped Hamantaschen

Rolling in Dough

by  Preeva Tramiel

My congregation is having a big Purim Party on Sunday. They will need about 300 hamantaschen and I am bringing enough dough to make 2/3 of them.

Topics: Food, Recipes, Purim

Celebrating "Esthers with Attitude" this Purim

by  Leah Berkenwald

Purim is just around the corner and it's deliciously serendipitous that the Jewish holiday with the most well-known heroine happens to fall during Women's History Month.

Esther: Nice Jewish Girl, Married to a Goy?

by From the Rib

This past weekend was Purim, and amidst the celebrating and partying one thing stood out in my mind that most people tend to ignore: the fact that the feminine hero of the story, Esther, is interma

Topics: Marriage, Purim
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