LIVINGSTON, NJ - The public is invited to participate in The Jewish Learning Program of Temple B’nai Abraham’s (TBA) upcoming Purim activities at the temple, which is located at 300 E. Northfield Road.

Purim, which begins this year on the evening of Saturday, March 15, is a festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people living throughout the ancient Persian Empire from a plot by Haman to annihilate them. In the story, Mordechai, the hero, and relative of Queen Ester, refuses to bow to Haman. In retaliation, Haman plots to massacre all of the Jewish people. Queen Esther and Mordechai discover and foil Haman's plot.

The holiday is called Purim because Haman cast the "pur" (the lot) against the Jews, but failed in destroying them. Reading the Purim Story from the Scroll of Esther, which is also called the Megillah (The Book of Esther) is an important part of the celebration. Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, people boo and shake noisemakers that are called groggers.

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In celebration of Purim, congregants dress up as characters from the actual Purim Story, like Esther or Mordechai, or don Halloween costumes. They wear these costumes and masks because in the beginning of the Purim Story, Esther concealed her Jewish identity. When the Megillah reading is over, many synagogues put on comedic plays called shpiels to reenact the Purim Story. They also often have carnivals. In addition, guests eat a host of celebratory foods including "Hamantaschen," which are sweet cookies that are often filled with fruit marmalades or cheese.

Purim is also a charitable holiday in which Jewish people send Mishloach Manot baskets filled with food and drink to each other. Sending Mishloach Manot is a “mitzvah” or a commandment that ensures everyone has enough food to enjoy the traditional Purim feast. Purim is also a time to make monetary donations to charities and to give money to the needy.

TBA’s Purim Carnival

TBA’s Annual Purim Carnival is being held on Thursday, March 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. There will be games and inflatables by Bounce On In Events, Strolling Magic by Jason, face painting and more. Dressing in costume is encouraged. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Snacks will be available for purchase. The entrance fee is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. To register, call 973-994-3950.

TBA’s Purim Services

In observance of Purim, TBA will be holding services on Saturday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m. that will include the traditional reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther) and the presentation of the Youth Purim Shpiel, “Shushan Beach Movie,” which is based on the hit musical, “Teen Beach Movie.” TBA’s Cantor Jessica Epstein will be directing and leading the Jewish Learning Program’s third to sixth grade students in this Shpiel.

TBA’s Sodowick Museum Showcase

Throughout the year, Temple B’nai Abraham displays exhibits in the Sodowick Museum Showcase. Now, until the end of March, there is an exhibit of items representing Purim that are on loan from the private Judaica collections of TBA members. The display includes Hamantaschen, groggers, an array of masks and antique Megillot (Megillah-the Book of Esther). The exhibit was created by Museum Showcase Chairs: Alyse Wolfson, Jessica Goldstern and Bonnie Colletti.