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Joy and Humor–Congregation Etz Chaim Celebrates Purim

Hamantaschen, traditional Purim pastries.

Hamantaschen, traditional Purim pastries.

Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County, the self-proclaimed “Purim Capital of North America,” will hold its traditionally raucous Purim carnival and service on Wednesday, March 7. The carnival will begin at 5:30 pm and the service will begin at 7:00 pm. The festivities will take place at the synagogue, 1710 S. Highland Avenue in Lombard. Adults and children are encouraged to come in costume.

Purim, or the Feast of Lots, is a joyous holiday that recounts the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre during the Persian period (539-330 BCE). The story of Purim is recounted in the Book of Esther, whose heroine plays the leading role in saving her people. The holiday is traditionally celebrated with joy and humor and with the giving of gifts to friends and the poor.

During the Purim service, as the Book of Esther is read, the congregants stomp and boo and shake noisemakers whenever the name of the villain Haman is mentioned. In Etz Chaim’s tradition, the noisemakers are boxes of macaroni and cheese, which are then donated to a local food pantry in fulfillment of the Purim commandment to make gifts to the poor.

Rabbis Steven M. Bob and Andrea J. Cosnowsky will lead the Purim service wearing original costumes that remain top-secret until the rabbis enter the sanctuary on Wednesday evening. All who come in costume will receive prizes, and there will be “hamantaschen”, the traditional three-cornered pastries of Purim, for everyone. Musical parodies will be provided by the Congregation’s “Home Groan Orchestra.”

During the carnival prior to the service, the synagogue’s Junior Youth Group will provide entertaining and challenging games for children of all ages, with prizes for all participants. Game tickets (25 cents each or 5 for $1.00) will be on sale throughout the carnival. Dinner will be served by the Senior Youth Group.

For more information, please call the synagogue office at (630) 627-3912 or go to www.congetzchaim.org

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