A look at Purim traditions

Daniel Hochberg and his parents were in Barcelona during Purim last year.


At the onset of every new year, as the initial celebration dies down, Purim allows Jews across the world to become festive again. Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the defeat of Haman’s plan to massacre the Jews in the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Many Jews celebrate by attending synagogue and having feasts with traditional Purim foods like hamantaschen, but many Jews celebrate the holiday in different ways.

David Shapshovich, junior at Mary Institute Country Day School, said Purim allows him to spend time with his family and enrich himself at synagogue.

“Personally, Purim is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. I love spending time with my family at dinner and seeing all my friends at synagogue,” he said.

David enjoys learning about Purim at synagogue. He uses the lessons that the holiday teaches to better himself.

“Every year, my entire family goes to synagogue and we learn about Purim,” David said. “It teaches me a lot about perseverance and friendship.”

For David, the holiday allows him to reconnect with family. He enjoys hosting relatives at his house.

“For me, what’s truly special about Purim is that I get to see family that I hadn’t seen in a while,” he said. “I love playing with my nephews and hosting family at my house”

For Daniel Hochberg, junior at Mary Institute Country Day School, the onset of Purim means something completely different.

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“Me and my family usually like to travel to a different place every year,” Daniel said.

For Daniel, Purim  is a time of reflection and relaxation. Holidays like these allow him to become more organized.

“I really like to clear my mind and organize my thoughts,” Daniel said. “You tend to appreciate times like Purim for that reason.”

Sam Zitin, Associate Director of Jewish Student Union, said Purim is a day where Jewish people across the world celebrate a miracle. The holiday is very festive and joyous because of these miracles.

“Purim is a commemoration and a celebration of a tremendous victory for the Jewish people,” Zitin said  “A day meant to be the day of our destruction was turned to a day of joy by G-d working behind the scenes through a series of hidden miracles.”

On Purim, Zitin enjoys celebrating the holiday with family and friends. He also likes to attend synagogue frequently during the holiday.

“My family typically celebrates by attending synagogue to hear the Megilla read evening and morning and by partaking of a festive Purim Seuda (meal),” Zitin said. “We will frequently invite students that I work with to attend that meal with us.”

Zitin also uses Purim to enrich the youth. He enjoys giving back to his community as well.

“We also have a family tradition of driving around during the morning and early afternoon of Purim and delivering Mishloach Manot, gifts of food, to our friends,” Zitin said.  “Typically we are all dressed in costumes as we do this and it’s a great participatory social experience for my kids.”