Purim acted out by puppies at Henderson synagogue

Purim is going to the pet dogs this 12 months at Congregation Ner Tamid, and that’s a excellent detail.

As section of this year’s observance of a single of the most festive vacations on the Jewish calendar, Congregation Ner Tamid next 7 days will premiere a movie in which the tale of Purim is acted out by some seriously adorable canines.

The celebratory vibe of Purim — which this yr starts on the night of Thursday Feb. 25 and finishes the evening of Friday Feb. 26 — may possibly be even extra welcome than usual this year. Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad of Southern Nevada remembers that COVID lockdowns commenced just a several days just after the celebration of Purim final 12 months.

And when space synagogues this year are setting up celebrations with an eye toward COVID, the holiday’s festive mother nature is sure to remain.

Purim recalls the tale extra than 2,300 several years ago in Persia of the plotting of Haman, the king’s wicked advisor, to eliminate all of the Jews in Persia. Plot twist and long story limited: Queen Esther alterations King Ahasuerus’ thoughts by revealing that she, far too, is Jewish and will save her individuals.

“It’s a minor getaway with a main message,” stated Cantor Jessica Hutchings of Congregation Ner Tamid. “It’s the story of our freedom.”

Purim is celebrated by looking at the Purim tale from the Scroll of Esther, with audiences encouraged to yell and boo Haman when his identify is mentioned and cheer when Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, the story’s heroes, show up.

It is also celebrated by dressing up in costumes, offering presents of foodstuff and helping the needy. Normally, carnivals or other occasions are held.

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

Rabbi Malcolm Cohen of Temple Sinai mentioned just one of his own Purim traditions is to give a silly sermon the Friday evening right before Purim. Folks who are not acquainted with Cohen’s tradition typically detect that “people all over them are laughing and they’re like, it seems funny, but they are not guaranteed if they should really snicker,” he mentioned.

In addition, “a good deal of folks do themed celebrations,” Harlig claimed, these kinds of as Chabad’s “Purim less than the sea” when “we had folks dress up like fish.”

But it is the resourceful ways that the story of Purim can be retold that sets it apart from more somber spiritual holiday seasons

“We do Purim spiels, which are plays, mainly, to whatsoever theme,” explained Hutchings, co-creator of Congregation Ner Tamid’s “Puppy Purim.”

“I’ve accomplished ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Grease,’ and ‘Star Wars’ just in the years I’ve been below,” she mentioned. “Kids glimpse forward to it. They begin inquiring in September when university starts, ‘What’s’ the topic?’ “

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

The friends fulfilled above Hanukkah and were being discussing Purim prospects when “we looked at just about every other and explained, ‘What if canines could notify the story of Purim?’ ” Hutchings mentioned.

The video’s stars — such as Hutchings’ Lab, Buttercup, who performs Queen Esther — ended up costumed and filmed sitting down, strolling and undertaking other steps. The parts then were edited collectively into a 15-moment story with human dialogue included.

“We did particular funny voices and cute backgrounds,” Hutchings explained. “It’s quite hysterical.”

The movie will premiere on Congregation Ner Tamid’s Facebook Are living feed at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. The congregations’ young ones even enjoy areas in the video.

“It was a tiny unhappy to have to tell them no enjoy this year,” Hutchings said. “So we made a decision we had been likely to have professional interruptions. We have young children from equally synagogues telling cute very little animal jokes.”

Purim weekend festivities — which also will contain a pet blessings at 9 a.m. and doggy adoptions from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 28 — will provide as a welcome crack from the pandemic. Akselrad recalled that only times after previous year’s celebration “the temple was shut and we had to figure out how to use know-how to converse with our congregation.”

“There have been a lot of challenges” with COVID, Akselrad mentioned. “One of the challenges is to assume outside of the box and be a lot more artistic.”

Make contact with John Przybys at [email protected]. Stick to @JJPrzybys on Twitter.