Purim by Shani Abed

Purim offers us what seems to be an endless range of fun and depths to delve into: a fascinating story of brave women; varieties of costumes and concealing; the joy of carnivals and celebrations; the natural course of the rescue miracle; and an opportunity to give to others.  Mishloach Manot (gifts of food and drinks) and Matanot La’evyonim  (gifts to the poor) are two central Mitzvot of Purim. While both share the idea of giving, the beneficiaries of the giving are different.  Mishloach Manot are given to our friends, whereas the Matanot La’evyonim are given to the poor. No Purim celebration is complete unless you have fulfilled these two Mitzvot.

Charity is an essential value of Judaism and giving gifts to the needy is a pretty straight forward concept. But why are we giving food to our friends? What good will my friend obtain from the food that I have given to him/her?

When Queen Esther approached King Achashverosh, she knew she was not facing him alone. Behind her were many other Jews. Esther was a representative and an emissary. She represented the Jews in her petition to acknowledge their right for community and religious freedom.  She brought redemption not only to herself, but redemption for the entire Jewish community. Esther remained true to herself, her heritage and her people. She never relinquished her uniqueness or her roots. At the same time, she established her place in the palace as the lovable queen. When the time of trial arrived, an entire people stood behind her, fasting for three days before her confrontation with the King. An entire community rallied to support the mission of one brave woman who risked her life to protect her community.

The message of the Purim story is very powerful.  What does it mean for each and every one of us to be a Jew, to be part of our Jewish community at the San Diego Jewish Academy and to be part of the Jewish nation? With challenges to Jewish identity and national existence on every front, now perhaps more than ever, we need to draw on the courage displayed by Esther and the generations since then. To be a Jew means to be the best that we can be, to give to others, and to seek to build the best in our school community and in others.  The power of our school community, nested within the larger Jewish nation, with our love and dedication to our Jewish identity and our community, is extremely powerful, and we pass this love and dedication to our students.

Even more than the joy of overcoming the hateful enemy, Purim is the holiday of community spirit, which with its unique custom of Mishloach Manot forces us to go out, visit our friends and relatives and think about the others. After all, preserving friendly relationships in the community is the foundation for rallying together in times of need. At SDJA, we strongly believe in the power of the community. Our community is closely knit with a strong sense of common faith and collaborating in the mission of raising children on the values of Judaism, love of Israel, being educated to love each other, and to be committed to the Jewish people and to others in need.

On Purim day, our students will have an opportunity to fulfill the Mitzvot of giving Mishloach Manot to each other, give gifts to the poor, listen to the Megillah and celebrate with joy in our annual carnival.  Parents are welcome to join us for our Purim celebration.

Costume guidelines: please dress up your child with his favorite costume (toy weapons of any kind are not allowed).  

Here is the schedule of the day:

K-4th grade

8:10-9:00 – Purim Tefillah and Megillah reading (Ulam)

9:00-9:55– Mishloach Manot preparation and exchange, Purim game (classroom)

10:00-11:00 – Stomp Show (Ulam)

11:00-1:00 – Carnival

1:00-1:23 – Lunch

1:25-3:00 – Movie (Ulam)

5th grade

8:10-9:00 – Purim Tefillah and Megillah reading (Ulam)

9:00-9:55– Mishloach Manot preparation and exchange (classroom)

10:00-11:00 – Stomp show (Ulam)

11:00-12:35 – Movie (classroom)

12:35-1:00 – Lunch

1:00-3:00 – Carnival

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