Purim at Temple Beth El by Cantor Mary R. Thomas

The Book of Esther – Megillat Esteir – was likely one of the last to enter the cannon of the Hebrew Bible, as late as the late Second Temple period. The text is a rich satire of Persian culture and a dark confrontation of the insecurity of Jews in that historical moment. For Jews in every generation, Purim and the Book of Esther offer much-needed levity during the cycle of the year, while forcing us to confront our often precarious relationship with the majority society that surrounds us. We laugh and celebrate, but just beneath the surface is a realism that cautions us against ever being complacent about our security.

But for now – the levity.

This year, there are lots of ways to celebrate Purim in our community. You can buy hamantaschen baked by our Keshet Committee, you can attend our adults only Purim Happy Hour, help with our shalach manot project, and attend the Purim Carnival at the LJCC, among others. There is one particular Purim opportunity that needs your advanced attention this week  — the Purim Spiel.

This year, we are mounting The Totally Rad ’80s Purim Spiel, a tremendous spiel filled with parodies of your favorite ’80s songs. We will tell the story to familiar melodies by Michael Jackson, Prince, Beastie Boys, Rick Springfield, Madonna, and others. The spiel is basically doing ’80s karaoke with different lyrics and all to the end of telling a thousands-year-old Jewish story. This is going to be fun!

The performance of the The Totally Rad ’80s Purim Spiel is at 10:30 am on Sunday, February 25, directly preceding the LJCC Purim Carnival, so you can head straight over there afterwards. The spiel is absolutely appropriate for congregants of all ages. We are hoping all Religious School families will join us- there is no regular Religious School on February 25, as we have reserved this day especially for the Purim Spiel and Carnival. Save the date.

But, if there’s a part of you that thinks that singing about Purim to the tune of “Thriller” on the bima in front of your temple family sounds like fun, please SIGN UP TO BE IN OUR SPIEL by January 17! There is room for absolutely everyone. If being on stage isn’t for you, and you would like to help out behind the scenes, please email me directly.

Pop open a can of Tab and get your legwarmers on – it’s almost time for The Totally Rad ’80s Purim Spiel.