Shalom, Montgomery County! Many Jewish students in the area are celebrating Purim, a holiday that commemorates an ancient victory over Haman, a Persian royal advisor who unsuccessfully tried to wipe out the Jewish population in the vast Persian Empire. Yesterday, many synagogues across Montgomery County presented the story of Purim to youth and adult members, often through creative “Purim spiel” plays that combine music, costumes, and even a few modern themes with the words of the Torah. Today, many synagogues and community centers, such as Beth El in Bethesda and the Jewish Community Center in Rockville, also held Purim carnivals with activities, contests, and face painting for younger children.
Many people also celebrate Purim by eating hamantaschen, triangular cookies shaped after Haman’s hat. While hamantaschen can often be found in certain bakeries year-round, some of the best hamantaschen are only available in the week or two surrounding Purim. For high-quality hamantaschen, the MoCo Student suggests stopping by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, located on Montrose Road in Rockville, where the tasty cookies will be sold for $1.50 each until this Tuesday. Other hamantaschen are sold at synagogues and at bakeries such as Bethesda Bagels and Breads Unlimited, which sells hamantaschen for $2.50 each. Ambitious food-lovers might also try baking their own hamantaschen, with recipes such as this one. Regardless of where one gets them, “hamantaschen are the greatest of all Jewish foods. Combining cookie and jelly means deliciousness,” observed Zachary Berkow, a co-president of the Jewish Club of Richard Montgomery High School.
Although most of the major Purim events are winding down and kosher delis are starting to get ready for next month’s Passover, many students hope to prolong this year’s celebrations. “It’s a wonderful holiday,” commented Jacob Rains, a member of the Jewish Culture Club at BCC High School.
Do you have a good Purim story, activity, or recipe you’d like to share? Feel free to post it in the comments section below!