Purim rap

A contemporary take on the Purim story with reference to another anti-semitic Persian.

purim poetry slamFrom artist Ari Lesser, unofficially illustrated by Jamie Cowland.

Very catchy tune and great lyrics.



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!


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.