Purim – Tradition, Innovation, Experimentation by Andy Harkavy, Director of Congregational Engagement

Judaism is all about tradition. We do what we do because our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on and so forth did it at one point in time. Traditions may also become stale or lose meaning. Why do we ALWAYS do what we do? Sometimes we know, but more often than not, we do what we know, what we feel comfortable with, and what we did last year. It’s the easy thing to do.

Reform means change. Change can be tough, but it’s important to remain fresh with new ideas. As I was hired as Director of Congregational Engagement, I was charged with creating new vision.

Celebrating Purim is one of my favorite memories and traditions. I have fond memories going back to Hebrew School Purim costume parades, carnivals, wacky assemblies, and more. As I grew older, the celebration changed. In college at Hillel and as a young professional, it usually involved a bar or some drinking. After all, it’s a mitzvah to “be in a state where one doesn’t know the difference between Mordechai and Haman”.

In addition to the traditional annual Community-wide Purim Carnival, TBE wants to do something new this year. We have a “Totally Rad ’80s Purim Spiel” on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 10:30 am. And we also have a fun, new Purim Happy Hour on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 6:30 – 8:30 pm @ VBGB.

The Talmud recounts that Purim is supposed to be a holiday of joy and fun. Come learn about the Jewish obligation to drink on Purim until one doesn’t know the difference between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed by Mordechai.” Bring in Purim with your beverage of choice and an opportunity for adults to hang out together! TBE will provide free appetizers. You bring yourself. We will bring the epic fun!

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