Tahoe’s Temple Bat Yam celebrates Purim holiday | NevadaAppeal.com

Tahoe’s Temple Bat Yam celebrates Purim holiday

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer

The public is welcome to attend a celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim with costumes, music, song, food and beverages at 11 a.m. today at Temple Bat Yam in South Lake Tahoe.

Purim is suitable for people of all ages. Costumes are suggested, but optional. Refreshments, including hamentaschen, a special filled pastry, will be served.

The community will present the Book of Esther, called “The Megillah,” a traditional observance on Purim. It is derived from the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, and her Uncle Mordechai as they try to save the Jews from destruction.

The temple is at 3260 Pioneer Trail. For information, contact Rabbi Jonathan Freirich at rabbijonathan@yahoo.com or call (775) 588-4503 or (775) 267-2761.

Overview of Purim

This is the Jewish Year 5767. Purim is celebrated from sunset today to nightfall on Sunday.

The word Purim means “lots,” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.

The holiday is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther’s three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.

The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the Book of Esther. It is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet, and rattle gragers (noisemakers) whenever the name of Haman is mentioned in the service. The purpose of this custom is to “blot out the name of Haman.”

Jews are also commanded to eat, drink, and be merry. According to the Talmud, a person is required to drink until he cannot tell the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai,” though opinions differ as to exactly how drunk that is. A person certainly should not become so drunk that he might violate other commandments or get seriously ill. In addition, recovering alcoholics or others who might suffer serious harm from alcohol are exempt from this obligation.

Purim is celebrated in the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. (In cities that were walled in by a moat in the time of Joshua, including Susa and Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated on the 15th of the month, known as Shushan Purim). As with all Jewish holidays, Purim begins at sundown on the previous secular day.

The events leading up to Purim were recorded in the Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther), which became the last of the 24 books of the Tanakh to be canonized by the Great Assembly. The Book of Esther records a series of seemingly unrelated events which took place over a nine-year period during the reign of King Ahasuerus.

These events reveal that the “coincidences” are really evidence of Divine intervention operating behind the scenes. This interpretation is developed and explained by Talmudic and other major commentaries on the Megillah.

The four main mitzvot of the day are: listening to the public reading, usually in synagogue, of the Book of Esther in the evening and again in the following morning; sending food gifts to friends; giving charity to the poor; and eating a festival meal.

– Information sources: http://www.jewfaq.org and http://www.wikipedia.org.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

Hamentaschen

• 2Ú3 cup butter or margarine

• 1Ú2 cup sugar

• 1 egg

• 1Ú4 cup orange juice (the smooth kind, not the pulpy)

• 1 cup white flour

• 1 cup whole-wheat flour (Do not substitute white flour. The wheat flour is necessary to achieve the right texture)

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• Various preserves, fruit butters and/or pie fillings

Blend butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the egg and blend thoroughly. Add orange juice and blend thoroughly. Add flour, 1Ú2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat, blending thoroughly between each. Add the baking powder with the last half cup of flour. Refrigerate dough overnight, or at least a few hours.

Roll as thin as you can without getting holes in the dough (roll it between two sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour for best results). Cut out 3- or 4-inch circles.

Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has corner that folds over and a corner that folds under. Folding in this “pinwheel” style will reduce the likelihood that the last side will fall open while cooking, spilling out the filling. It also tends to make a better triangle shape.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, but before the filling boils out.