Jews celebrate Purim with festival, merriment
Purim, a Jewish holy day celebrating Jewish salvation, begins Feb. 23 at sundown.
During the two-day festival, the Megillah, or the scroll of Esther is read, where the story is found in the Torah. In the story, Queen Esther persuades the king not to kill the Jews as planned by the king’s chief adviser Haman in 356 BCE (before the common era). Purim literally means “lots” because Haman chose the day to kill Jews by holding a lottery.
As the story is read in the synagogue, every time Haman’s name is mentioned during the reading, congregants stomp their feet and use noise makers called greggars to drown his name. As part of the celebration, members wear costumes depicting a theme or their favorite Purim character.
Temple Emanu-El in Haverhill chose “An Olde Fashioned Purim” as its theme this year. On Feb. 23, members can dress in their favorite old fashioned clothes or don their favorite Purim character, wether hero, heroine or villain.
Ballard Vale United, 23 Clark Road, Andover: The series “Immigration and the Bible: A Guide for Radical Welcome,” Sundays 9 a.m. through March 24. The Lenten study looks at the stories of immigrants and migration from Abraham and Sarah in Genesis to the Israelites who wondered in the desert for 40 years and Jesus who immigrated to Egypt as a baby.
Christ Church, 25 Central St., Andover: Carol Doran performs an organ recital Feb. 17 at 4:30 p.m., follow by a choral evensong sung by the parish choir at 5 p.m. The Rev. Phillbert Kalisa of REACH Rwanda is guest preacher. Lenten lectionary based bible study Sundays 9 to 9:45 beginning Feb. 17 through Palm Sunday. Members discuss “The Rich and the Rest of Us” Tuesdays in Lent at 6:30 p.m. Women’s Group discusses “Doubting Thomas Moments” Monday, 7:30-9 p.m.