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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2013

Jewish congregations to celebrate Purim with song, carnival, prayer


Sundown today to sundown Sunday is the Jewish holiday of Purim, an event that marks religious freedom and that is based on Queen Esther’s rescue of Persian Jews from genocide ordered by Haman, who was set “above all the princes” in King Ahasuerus' court, as told in the biblical book of Esther.

Esther had not revealed she was Jewish, and was loved by the king “above all the women.” When she did reveal herself as a Jew to the king and asked that “my people” be saved, Haman was condemned.

A tradition is to read the Megillah, or long story, of Esther and to do so joyfully, with the name of Haman booed.

Temple Shomer Emunin, 6453 Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania, hosts an annual Purim carnival for the family, which will be from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, with the Megillah at 10 a.m. and the carnival at 10:30 a.m. Prize tickets are four for $1 on carnival day, and attendees are asked to bring pasta for the Jewish Family Service food bank.

Congregation B’nai Israel, 6525 Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania, presents “Gagamegillah,” a Purimspiel, or adaptation of the Megillah, at 10 a.m. Sunday and a Purim carnival at 11 a.m. For “Gagamegillah,” look for many references in the style of Lady Gaga.

If Gaga isn’t your shtick, B’nai Israel today will have afternoon prayer at 6 p.m., a light meal after, then evening prayer at 7 p.m. with a traditional Megillah reading; and Sunday morning prayer in the chapel at 9 a.m., followed by a partial Megillah reading in the sanctuary at 9:30 a.m.

Congregation Etz Chaim, 3853 Woodley Rd., will have a Megillah reading 7:05 p.m. today after prayers that start at 5:45 p.m.

The congregation, in association with the Ohr Cadash school, will have a children-friendly Megillah reading and a Purim celebration at 8:45 a.m. Sunday, after the morning prayer at 8 a.m.

Chabad House will stage “Purim in the Palace” at 4 p.m. Sunday at Congregation Etz Chaim, 3853 Woodley Rd.

The Megillah reading is at 4:30 p.m. Chabad House then will serve a royal feast in an entertaining atmosphere, complete with a fire-throwing show. The event is $16 for adults and $12 for children, with a maximum cost of $60 for a family.

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