Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the evil Haman.
The most important Purim custom is reading the Purim Story from the Scroll of Esther, also called the Megillah. It’s also a tradition to dress up in costumes, eat Oznei Haman (Hamantaschen) and give Mishloach Manot to friends- baskets filled with food and drink. In addition to sending mishloach manot, Jews are also commanded to be especially charitable during Purim. Jews will often make monetary donations to charities they support.
Here’s Dana International performs a famous Purim song, “Shoshanat Yaakov,” in 1995:
STORIES FOR PURIM
From LGBT synagogues to the part Israel played in making the Jewish people more tolerant and inclusive: Neil Goldstein Glick counts the LGBT jewels in Queen Esther’s crown. read
The Story of Hamantaschen: And does the name of the Purim cookie really refer to evil Haman’s ear, or maybe his hat, or maybe a Germanic baking technique? read
In a special column for Purim, Barney Frank explains why the holiday when Jews remember the oppression we overcame in ancient Persia and throughout our history is the perfect time to work against the terrible wave of homophobia that is oppressing the LGBT community. read
Siân Gibby, a Jew by choice, wrote in Tablet Magazine about her exploration of gender in her Purim customs. “There’s a liberating sensation of being in drag,” she writes.
PURIM TORAH QUEERIES
The origin of wearing costumes on Purim remains uncertain, but one reason suggested is that in the Purim story, Esther becomes someone she was not — a queen with all the royal finery that title implies — while hiding the fact that she is a Jew. Rabbi Lisa Edwards writes
A Purim Message: A tongue-in-cheek essay by Rebbetzin Hadassah Gross, the drag queen persona of Amichai Lau-Lavie, about the meaning behind Purim. read
LGBT PURIM GIFTS IDEAS
The Purim Superhero is a sweet children’s book that tells a story of a boy who has a Purim dilemma: he loves aliens and really wants to wear an alien costume, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes, and he wants to fit in. With the help of his two dads, he makes a surprising decision. read more
Recently liberated from the closet? Proud Jewish mom of recently married gay son? Blatantly bicurious, or just an open-minded dress-up daredevil? No matter your orientation, here’re seven suggestions of gay and lesbian characters you could be this Purim.
Gil Mark’s recipe for hamantaschen and also Persian Cheese Turnovers, Drunken Fillet of Salmon and Middle East Cucumber Salad: see recipes