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Whatta Ya Mean Purim's Not For Kids?!

Okay, Hayyim. Now I know you're strongly opinionated, so please sit quietly while I present my case.

Rabbi, when have I ever interrupted you?

Right. Now Purim, I'm sure you remember, celebrates the miraculous rescue of the Shushan Jews. Haman wanted to have us killed, but Queen Esther and her cousin Mordekhai bravely saved the day.

But Mordekhai was her uncle, Rabbi.

Cousin, Hayyim. He was her cousin. And today, on the fourteenth of Adar ...

The fourteenth of Adar isn't today, Rabbi.

I meant "these days." But thank you anyway, Hayyim. These days, when the fourteenth of Adar arrives, families bundle up the little kiddies, dressing them as Esthers and Mordekhais and King Ahashueruses, and whisk them off to synagogue to hear the reading of the Megillah, to yell and scream at Haman's name, and stuff their little faces with hamentashen before going home.

And that's how it should be, Rabbi.

That's not how it should be, Hayyim. By the time these kids are in sixth or seventh grade, Purim's a thing of the past. Most won't celebrate Purim again until they have kids of their own. And once the little kiddies have grown, where do you suppose their parents have gone off to?


They might as well, Hayyim, because they sure don't think there's any reason to go to temple on Purim.

Gevalt! What's a Jew to do, Rabbi?

Go to temple on Purim, Hayyim! The Purim story may sound like it’s for kids but, behind every word, there is subterfuge, betrayal, violence and sex.

Wow. I'm there, dude! Uh ... Rabbi Dude. But one nagging question remains: Why should I?

For two good reasons, Hayyim. First, Purim is not a kid's holiday. In fact, the issues of antisemitism, Jewish response to antisemitism, religious and ethnic tolerance in general, and our individual and collective responsibility to protect the rights of minority groups ... these are what Purim is all about. And if you care about how Jewish or any other minorities are treated, you ought to let the world know it ... by shaking your own gragger in temple on Purim.

And second, we're a community. It's Woodlands' middle name. So we ought not be excluding one another from our congregation's significant moments. We need to be creative and find ways to open our doors to everybody.

That's good enough for me, Reb. I’ll definitely see you on Purim.

Thank you, Hayyim. And Hayyim?

Yes, my teacher.

Thanks for not interrupting.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782