Purim fun for all ages

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim to everybody!

Shalom Sesame: Purim Story

Shalom Sesame

G-d castPrincess of Persia

princess of persia

Kermit on Purim


מחרוזת שירי פורים

Purim song

Purim Rap

purim rap

Aleph Beta Academy: Purim

Introducing the Open Muslim Students Association

very funny!

Maccabeats Purim song


(click on pictures for links)

I am still in need of a good hamentashen recipe. If you have one, please send it my way. I would especially appreciate a recipe with a yeast rather than a cookie-type dough and a poppy seed filling,



Purim Carnival & PJ Library Party

Sunday was a very busy day for our family. It started at 9 am, with the TBE Nitzanim class (Hebrew school for the preschool set). If you’ve never watched a dozen 3-5 year olds enthralled by their own re-enactment of the Purim story, you’ve missed out. Their teacher, Nancy, working from her handmade scroll, helped them with the story. An hour flew by, and the kids really learned the story by acting it out.

Afterwards, we listened to the magillah reading for a second time (we’d been at Saturday night services, too). My four year old made it alllllmost all the way through this time.

Then there was the TBE Purim carnival, complete with games like fishing for a “rotten egg” in a bucket of shaving cream and kids could win a prize for answering three questions about Purim correctly. I’m happy to say my daughter won a prize. See, I told you that they learned the story!

Making groggers

Making groggers

Then it was off to lunch, and on to our next adventure: If you don’t know about PJ Library, and you have a child 7 or under (or 8, in some places), it’s definitely worth learning about. PJ Library sends free (yes, free!) Jewish-themed books and music to kids. You sign up, they send you books. In Ithaca, the Ithaca Area United Jewish Community is the sponsor, sharing in the costs to keep it free for local families.

Making crowns

Making crowns

After the TBE party, we went to the Tompkins County Public Library, along with about 70 other people, for the PJ Library party. “Admission” was canned goods, to be donated to a local food bank. There were crafts for the kids, like making groggers, making crowns, and Purim baskets, along with live music and a magician. It was fantastic. And exhausting!


TBE Sisterhood תודה רבה

A very special Toda Raba תודה רבה, thank you to the TBE sisterhood.

There’s a knock at the door and a gracious volunteer hands you a wonderful Mishloach Manot משלוח מנות package. This package is organized, coordinated, packed and delivered by TBE Sisterhood. The annual Mishloach Manot drive is one of the major fundraising events for our community.

Happy Purim bag

It is a wonderful special feeling to receive such a present and to know that there are members of our congregation who generously give one of these to every single member.

And what a package! It can only be described as Mishloach Manot “swag”.

Wow, wow, wow, superlatives escape me:

swagA very special thanks to all the members of TBE Sisterhood (headed by our wonderful Sisterhood President, Gale Halpern), who baked the hamantaschen, who shopped, who packed the bags, who wrote the cards, who delivered the packages. A special thank you to Esther, our super route organizer.

And thank you also to those kind individuals who sponsored the Mishloach Manot bags, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Purim – daytime summary and checklist

Here goes:

1) Listening to Megilla reading. Check.

2) Charity Mazon. Check.

3) Mishloach Manot משלוח מנות. Check.

This was very fun as it is the kind of activity that snowballs, we made a package for a couple of friends and then thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make another little package for so-and-so etc and so we ended up with double the number of packages we had intended to make.

As always there were snafus, I had purchased some of those Osem soup mini-croutons so beloved by kids as a snack.

soup croutons

I threw this package into one of the bags. When we got to the house and delivered the Mishloach Manot I was with my youngest child who chose that moment to blurt out that the oldest child had spotted this item in the grocery bag after it came home from Wegmans. Apparently she had felt the need for a snack, had opened up the package and helped herself to a few. So we were at that point making a “gift” of a partially consumed food item. Major major ooops. I was mortified. Very fortunately my friend took it in good humor and I know she must not have been too upset as she proceeded to give me a contact for an event planner (major score here).

4) Festive meal. Check.

The kids had requested brisket. So a fleishig meal it was and what a feast!

For appetizer we had salami, accompanied by sliced kosher pickles (prepared at Limmud the previous week, more on this later), guacamole and sweet potato tortilla chips (on special at Greenstar).


For the main course we had brisket made in the slow cooker*, accompanied by a green lettuce salad and homemade salad dressing (Gary’s special).

We didn’t drink any alcohol although the kids were both quite intrigued with the concept of being drunk, what effect alcohol has on the body, and when and if they should get drunk on Purim. I guess this topic has come up at school, the youngest daughter recounted a story from a friend about being given an alcoholic drink and how it made her face flush.

main course

We rounded out the festivities with delicious ice cream.

pareve icecreamAnd then the 14th Adar 5773 slipped away. Purim was over.

*If anybody is interested in the recipe for the brisket, please leave a message in the comments and I will write it up.


Purim TBE style

פורים שמח Happy Purim everybody!

Purim is off to a great start in Ithaca.

Kitah Zayin got the ball rolling with a skit.

kitah zayin

The crowd waited impatiently for the Rabbi to emerge in costume:

the crowd

Flanked by his Kitah Zayin acolytes, the Rabbi made a grand entrance gangnam style to much cheering and yelling.

Rabbi entrance

And then the Megillah reading was underway, The traffic light system was deployed to keep the crowd under strict control.

traffic light

And the crowd was so well behaved that it was rewarded with showers of candy after Chapter 6, the point in the story where, as the Rabbi put it, it’s all downhill for Haman. It’s a topsy-turvy world, one moment you’re up and the next moment…..

candy distribution

The rest of the reading went smoothly except for when yours truly lost their place in the text and enthusiastically but embarrassingly let off a grogger in response to a Haman-sounding word. This enjoined a swift correction from the Rabbi “אַמָּה (cubit), not הָמָן!”

Our own Queen Esther got a special shout out from the bimah:

salute queen esther

Macaroni boxes were provided as “recyclable groggers”, these could be purchased as a charitable donation with the food collected afterwards for donation – a wonderful idea.


The costumes were magnificent, there was a myriad of terrific outfits.

I spotted some Eastern potentates:

Eastern potentates

There was JImi Hendrix:

Jimi Hendrix

Rabbi Gangnam himself (this appears to be quite a trend for Rabbis):

Rabbi Gangnam

Of course, everyone wants to cozy up to their queen:

getting cozy with the queen

That is when they are not saving the world (this superhero moves so fast this was the only non-blurry photo I could get):


I spotted the most adorable fairy:

sweet fairy

and a ranching family:

super ranching family

I really loved this one:

bring him on

and even found somebody playing at being a teenager (oh wait, never mind!):

playing the teenager

The evening weather was mild, on the way home, we rolled down the windows of the car and basted Debbie Friedman’s punchy עושה שלום on the stereo*. I felt absurdly happy just to be alive, I told the kids “Haman tried to wipe us out, Hilter ימח שמו tried to wipe us out but guess what? WE’RE STILL HERE!!!”


*The version I have is from the Debbie Friedman album “As You Go On Your Way: Shacharit – The Morning Prayers” and the track can be downloaded here.

Purim is coming!

Get your costumes ready, Purim is around the corner!

Here’s a video from the Maccabeats to get you in the mood.

purim song

Now I have to go figure out a raspberry costume for my daughter (her suggestion). Any suggestions as to how to transform a 9-yr old into a facsimile of a raspberry would be gratefully received.