Editor’s Note: Chag Purim Sameach from everyone over at Achshav! In honor of the holiday that has brought us everyone’s favorite triangle-shaped cookie, it would only be right to look at favorite traditions of some members of the new International General Board. So sit back, relax, spin a grogger, and enjoy all of these different traditions from across USY.
Hi USY! Chag Purim Sameach! The Religion/Education International General Board is on a mission to find out about the Purim traditions of IGB members. Here’s what we found out:
Reena Bromberg Gaber – Mizrach, International Convention Chairperson: As I’ve gotten older, Purim has become more and more low key. I used to go to Jewish day school, so every year we had a huge carnival at school and my friends and I would dress up in matching costumes (like one year one friend was Mickey, one friend was Pluto, and I was Minnie). Since I’ve gone to public school, all that I do every year on Purim is go to Megillah reading at my synagogue and help out with the Hebrew school’s carnival. However, the one thing that I do every year is make hamantaschen with my mom. We listen to music and talk and it’s a really nice time to hang out even when school life has gotten crazy.
Allison Comite – HaNegev, Summer Experience Outreach Chairperson: Whenever Purim comes around, I always get excited about our synagogue’s annual Purim Carnival and costume party. When I was younger, I loved going on all the rides and playing around with my friends. Now that I’m older, other USYers and I help volunteer to put on games, rides, and a petting zoo for the younger pre-school kids and families. It’s super meaningful to help out, plus it is so much fun to hang out with my friends. We have also been putting on a costume party for the families where we all dress in costume and dance. Other USYers and I like to coordinate costumes. But the best part is the Purim Shpiel. It’s a little skit during which we sing fun songs about the Purim story during the Megillah reading. The community wide celebration with my synagogue is an event that I love being a part of.
Noam Benson-Tilsen – HaNer, Religion/Education Committee: Each year, my father, the rabbi at my synagogue, puts together a slideshow for our reading of the Megillah. In the festive spirit of Purim, it always takes jabs at politics and gives everyone a good laugh while they follow along with the readers. It brings the community together and is a simple way in which the mischief of Purim is amplified in our synagogue life.
Ayden Kligfeld – Far West, 613 Mitzvah Corps Chairperson: Growing up, Purim was always a special night. Since I did not go Trick-or-Treating, this was when I could wear a fun costume. My friends at school and I would spend weeks planning and making our costumes. The entire atmosphere at my school was pure joy around the holiday. That’s what I thought Purim was about: fun and joy. One Purim night when I was around eight years old, I was feeling overwhelmed by the commotion of the evening. I noticed in one of the rooms of my synagogue there was tables full of food. I walked in and saw members of my shul making sandwiches. Once the sandwiches were made, there were designated people putting them in bags with snacks, toothbrushes, and other necessities. I learned later they were doing the mitzvah of Matanot Le’evyonim. I had always thought of Purim as a day focused on dressing up and celebration. It hadn’t occurred to me how central it was to the Purim observance to give to others too. This day stood out to me and started me on the path of helping others, the path to SA/TO. This Purim, remember how important it is to give to those who need it as well as giving to friends and family. Chag Purim Sameach USY!
Andrew Zucker – METNY, Membership/Kadima International General Board: Every year my family from my father’s side gets together on Purim day for dinner (the Purim Seudah/Mishteh). We get there and everyone is in their costumes, and we are just able to enjoy the time together. I always look forward to this dinner because I don’t always get the opportunity to see my family throughout the year and we are able to celebrate Purim together after I already celebrated the holiday with my local community.
Sophie Scheer – Tzafon, Communications Committee: Purim is one of my most favorite holidays. It’s so fun to dress up, see my friends and I always have a good time. One Purim tradition I love to do is read Megillah. I think the trope is so pretty and it flows really well. Telling this story is really important and I love being able to do it in front of my community! At my synagogue, the teenagers are asked to read some of the Megillah. So it’s fun to practice our parts together and be able to read together during Purim. I especially love the energy when Haman’s name is read and everyone goes crazy. There is so much ruach and I love to be a part of it! Chag Purim Sameach!