Teaching Students About the Feast of Purim
The Feast of Purim is a Jewish holiday commemorating the deliverance of the Jews living in the Persian Empire from a plot to destroy them. The story is found in the Book of Esther, which tells of Mordecai, a Jewish leader, and his niece, Esther, who became queen to King Ahasuerus. The king’s evil advisor, Haman, sought to annihilate the Jewish people, but Esther courageously exposed the plot and saved her people.
Teaching students about the Feast of Purim provides an opportunity to learn about Jewish history, culture, and traditions. Here are some ideas for teaching about Purim in the classroom:
1. Read the Book of Esther: Allow students to read or listen to the story of Esther. Discuss the characters and events, and ask students to identify the lessons that can be learned from the story.
2. Explain the customs of Purim: The holiday is celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (usually in February/March). The day is marked by dressing up in costumes, giving gifts of food to friends, and performing the Purim spiel, a humorous retelling of the story of Esther.
3. Discuss the significance of Purim: Ask students to consider the significance of the holiday and how it relates to Jewish history and culture. Explain that the holiday is a reminder that the Jewish people have faced persecution throughout history, but have always survived and thrived.
4. Create Purim crafts: Have students make masks or costumes inspired by characters from the Purim story. Encourage students to be creative and use a variety of materials.
5. Make traditional Purim treats: Have students make hamantaschen, a three-cornered pastry commonly eaten on Purim. The treat is filled with a variety of sweet fillings such as poppy seed, apricot, or chocolate.