Jewish holiday of Purim will include things like ancient tale retold by puppies

Lisa D. Small

Purim is likely to the canine this year at Congregation Ner Tamid, and that is a good point.

As aspect of this year’s observance of just one of the most festive holidays on the Jewish calendar, Congregation Ner Tamid future week will premiere a online video in which the tale of Purim is acted out by some significantly cute canines.

The celebratory vibe of Purim — which this yr starts on the night of Thursday Feb. 25 and ends the evening of Friday Feb. 26 — may be even extra welcome than regular this 12 months. Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad of Southern Nevada recalls that COVID lockdowns started just a number of days following the celebration of Purim final year.

And whilst spot synagogues this calendar year are scheduling celebrations with an eye towards COVID, the holiday’s festive character is certain to continue to be.

Purim recollects the tale a lot more than 2,300 yrs in the past in Persia of the plotting of Haman, the king’s wicked advisor, to destroy all of the Jews in Persia. Plot twist and long story shorter: Queen Esther modifications King Ahasuerus’ head by revealing that she, too, is Jewish and will save her people today.

“It’s a minimal vacation with a major information,” said Cantor Jessica Hutchings of Congregation Ner Tamid. “It’s the story of our flexibility.”

Purim is celebrated by looking through the Purim story from the Scroll of Esther, with audiences inspired to yell and boo Haman when his name is described and cheer when Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, the story’s heroes, appear.

It is also celebrated by dressing up in costumes, providing gifts of food items and encouraging the needy. Frequently, carnivals or other activities are held.

“It’s intended to be festive,” reported Harlig, and is “one of the happiest times on the Jewish calendar.”

Rabbi Malcolm Cohen of Temple Sinai explained one particular of his possess Purim traditions is to give a foolish sermon the Friday night time just before Purim. Individuals who are not familiar with Cohen’s tradition typically observe that “people around them are laughing and they are like, it seems amusing, but they are not positive if they should chortle,” he explained.

In addition, “a lot of folks do themed celebrations,” Harlig reported, these kinds of as Chabad’s “Purim underneath the sea” when “we had men and women costume up like fish.”

This year, young children at Chabad will be dressing up for a costume party, though Cohen reported Temple Sinai is possessing a socially distanced carnival for kids this weekend and two online functions on Purim.

But it’s the creative techniques that the tale of Purim can be retold that sets it apart from extra somber religious holidays

“We do Purim spiels, which are plays, essentially, to whatever concept,” said Hutchings, co-creator of Congregation Ner Tamid’s “Puppy Purim.”

“I’ve completed ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Grease,’ and ‘Star Wars’ just in the years I have been in this article,” she said. “Kids search ahead to it. They begin asking in September when school starts, ‘What’s’ the concept?’ “

This year’s topic was devised by Hutchings and Cantor Lizzie Weiss of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, who collaborated in creating the puppy-centric video clip that will be shown this 12 months.

The good friends achieved more than Hanukkah and ended up speaking about Purim possibilities when “we seemed at just about every other and stated, ‘What if puppies could inform the story of Purim?’ ” Hutchings explained.

The video’s stars — together with Hutchings’ Lab, Buttercup, who performs Queen Esther — were being costumed and filmed sitting, strolling and performing other actions. The pieces then were being edited alongside one another into a 15-minute tale with human dialogue included.

“We did exclusive funny voices and cute backgrounds,” Hutchings stated. “It’s pretty hysterical.”

The video will premiere on Congregation Ner Tamid’s Facebook Live feed at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. The congregations’ young children even perform parts in the video.

“It was a little unhappy to have to convey to them no enjoy this calendar year,” Hutchings reported. “So we decided we ended up heading to have professional interruptions. We have young ones from both synagogues telling lovable tiny animal jokes.”

Purim weekend festivities — which also will involve a pet blessings at 9 a.m. and dog adoptions from 10 a.m. to midday on Feb. 28 — will provide as a welcome crack from the pandemic. Akselrad recalled that only days after final year’s celebration “the temple was closed and we experienced to determine out how to use technology to talk with our congregation.”

“There have been a whole lot of challenges” with COVID, Akselrad reported. “One of the difficulties is to consider outdoors of the box and be extra resourceful.”

Speak to John Przybys at [email protected] Observe @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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