“Purim? I’ve never heard of it.” “Purim . . . does the university offer that class?” These are just a few of the typical responses I receive when I tell my friends I am going to a Megillah reading for Purim. To give them a five-second summary, I tell them that many years ago the Jewish people were saved from annihilation, yet again – a recurrent theme in Judaism. Rather than going into the myriad of details of how our proverbial lot was cast and Queen Esther saved the day centuries ago, I find it easier to let them Google this short yet heroic (and ironically very much still relevant) story on their nearest Apple device.
While the times have changed, it remains the responsibility of this generation of Jews (as well as future generations) to ensure the continuity of our heritage with enthusiasm and pride for what it means to be Jewish. One important way we do so is through expanding traditions. This year’s Megillah reading at the Hillel House was a testament to our will to successfully fulfill that objective.
Hannah Dewing '19, Dana Gary '18, Grace Vianney '16, Matt Reichel '17, Crystal Santos '16, Jordan Goldstein '18, Ron Perets '18 and Murtaza Kapasi '16 read and act out the story of Purim.
Students from the theatre department created a festive Purim atmosphere by helping put on an improvisational rendition of the story of Purim. Between laughter at the wonderful acting and appropriately timed booing whenever the original He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was mentioned, there was a welcoming feeling to this Megillah reading that made it both accessible and exciting to Jews of all levels of observance, as well as to non-Jews. This could clearly be gaged by the smartphone activity in the room, which was kept to a minimum of its own accord (a miraculous feat in and of itself).
At the end of our most entertaining Megillah reading, yet another Jewish tradition was kept alive: joyful communal eating to honor our festivities. The audience and actors eagerly made their ways to the table covered with delectable Hamentashen filled with chocolate or strawberry jam in celebration of the Purim holiday. All who attended had a memorable time while keeping our Jewish traditions alive.