image Photo: Flash90

Jewish world celebrates Purim 

The holiday began at dusk last night and concludes tomorrow evening.

By Erin Viner

Jews around the world are marking Purim, commemorating the salvation of Jew in ancient Persia from genocide.

Observance includes recitation of Chapter 9, Verse 28 of the Biblical Scroll of Esther known as the “reading of the Megillah,” exchange of gifts of food, donations to charity and additional prayers to those normally performed after meals and throughout the day. Halacha religious law mandates all Jews to hear the readings of the Megillah at the start of the holiday and again during the day of Purim itself.

Children have been arriving at kindergarten and school classes since Sunday dressed in costumes and full of cheer. Many appeared in traditional outfits such as biblical characters, IDF soldiers, superheroes, princesses, brides and monsters.

Festive meals include consumption of a traditional triangular filled pastry known as ‘Hamantaschen’ (Yiddish for ‘Haman’s pockets’) or Oznei Haman (Hebrew for ‘Haman’s ears’).

Haman served as Prime Minister at the the 5th Century BC court of Persian King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes), ruler of the Achaemenid Empire. Queen Esther, who was Jewish, is attributed with foiling a plot by Haman to annihilate her community.

Security has been heightened throughout Israel, as is done to protect the populace during all Jewish holidays; particularly this year amid a surge of Palestinian terrorism.

The Erez Crossing into the Islamist-Hamas controlled Gaza Strip has been sealed since this morning and will be reopened on Thursday.

In televised remarks at the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an historical reference to the Achaemenid Empire, the capital of which was Persis (Persepolis) in modern-day Iran.

“We are on the eve of Purim: 2,500 years ago, an enemy arose in Persia who sought to destroy the Jews. They did not succeed then, neither will they succeed today,” he said following a reiteration of his vow to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir attended the Megillah reading at the synagogue at the Beit Horon Border Police base last night, together with the officers, their commander, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana and Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov “Kobi” Shabtai.

“”I, along with the people of Israel, greatly appreciate your actions, your efforts, your heroism and your sacrifice. May G-d grant you success and that you watch over the country, yourselves and each other. Happy Purim to you,” Prime Minister Netanyahu told the security troops after the reading.