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Celebrate Purim, No Hangover Guaranteed

Purim is almost here! Around town, you will usually find hundreds of young adults gathering at local synagogues and bars while dressed up in their favorite costumes, doing lots – and lots – of drinking. On Purim, we’re actually told by the Talmud to drink to the point of not knowing the difference between Haman and Mordecai. But, as much as some may love a stiff Raspberry Hamantini, others may choose not to imbibe for a variety of reasons.

For all those who want more Purim and less alcohol, I present to you a roundup of alternative Purim celebration ideas that provide plenty of festiveness without giving you a headache the next day.

Mishloach Manot

Grab your crew and make these or these creative mishloach manot (Purim gift baskets) for friends or family, or make snack bags for a local non-profit such as Martha’s Table.

purim

Hamantaschen Baking

Host a Hamantaschen bake-off and try unique flavors like gingerbread apple spice, cappuccino, and caramelized onion and goat cheese.

purim

Purim Masks

Discuss a Purim theme such as the “masks we wear” or show off your creative side with a photo shoot at EntryPointDC’s Umasked: A Purim Celebration & Service Project.

mask

Booze-Free Purim Party

Attend a Dry Purim party with Moishe House Columbia Heights and enjoy snacks, games, and some delicious mocktails.

party

Murder Mystery

Need an excuse to dress up and put on a costume? Host a Purim Mystery dinner and assign characters to your guests.

murder mystery

A Very Beatles Musical

Take a road trip to Philly or Brooklyn to witness the interactive musical and sing-a-long A Very Beatles Purim.

the beatles

 

Who knew Purim without the liquor could be so much fun?

Share your #alternativePurim ideas on Instagram and make sure to tag @e_dcjcc and @GatherDC.

 


 

About the Author: Stacy Miller is enjoys entertaining her large Jew crew at her home and is currently the Director of EntryPointDC, the 20s and 30s program of the Edlavitch DCJCC. She represents all things Northern Virginia as the Founder of NOVA Tribe Series and is a former GatherDCGirl of the Year Runner-Up. Most importantly, she wants you know she LOVES this community a-latke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

How to Celebrate the Spirit of Purim Across DC!

Jewish-holiday-wise, Purim is sneaky. It creeps up in mid-February or March every year, just as we’re reeling from our second try at New Year’s resolutions, and are already thinking about Passover. (Mark your calendars – Purim starts on Wednesday night, February 28th!)

For those who need a little refresher as to what this holiday is all about – I’ve got you covered. Purim celebrates the story of the Book of Esther, when the Jews were saved from Haman’s evil plot. You may have heard it called  “The Jewish Halloween” because of the awesome costumes worn to celebrate the holiday. It’s also the holiday when we shake rice-filled water bottles and make triangular hamentaschen cookies  (plot twist: fill them with nutella?).

There are four core mitzvot (commandments) for celebrating Purim:

  • Reading the Book of Esther
  • Sending Mishloach Manot (snack goodie bags for neighbors and friends)
  • Eating a festive meal (with plenty of adult beverages for those who choose to partake)
  • Giving gifts to the poor (Matanot Le’evyonim). This mitzvah is our expression of gratitude for when Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai saved the Jews from being killed.

In my view, the last I listed – Matanot Le’evyonim, or gifts to the poor – is rarely emphasized in our general understanding of Purim. The Purim spirit is one of fun, filled with costumes, community parties, delicious Hamentaschen cookies, and general positivity and merriment. This year, I challenge us to put a bit more focus into the Matanot Le’evyonim mitzvah – to not just satisfy the mitzvah by giving to charity, but to truly carry over the positive spirit of joy and celebration that is Purim into acts of service.

These four mitzvot are all part of the Purim holiday! Here’s how to participate in all four – check out these happenings across DC to bring you closer to the Purim spirit!

 

Megillah: Reading of the Book of Esther

Listen to the Megillat Esther (the book of Esther) read aloud. When you add in maracas, rice-filled water bottles, plastic “noisemakers” from Party City, and enthusiastic booing for good measure – fulfilling this mitzvah is much more fun than it sounds.

You can hear the megillah reading at:

 

Mishloach Manot: Make gift bags for friends, family, and neighbors

If you want to send mishloach manot (gifts of food), make sure to include hamentaschen! (This may be controversial, but the best flavor is definitely poppyseed.) Get a head start on these gift bags with:

Spread the joy of hamentaschen to all: consider donating hamentaschen you bake to local senior centers like Congregation Etz Hayim did this past weekend at the Culpepper Garden senior living facility in Arlington.

 

Seudat Purim: Have a festive meal

This is the one mitzvah that everyone seems to remember as “it’s a mitzvah to get drunk on Purim!” Although this injunction does tell Jews to “drink until you don’t know the difference between Haman and Mordechai” – what it is saying, on a deeper level, is to find a way to look beyond our rational minds, and tap into our deepest, faith-based self – and, of course, to have lots of fun! However, for those of us who aren’t big into drinking – you can still celebrate this mitzvah with a delicious meal (filled with foods symbolic of the Purim story), and by letting go of stress and totally relaxing into the spirit of the holiday.

Celebrate this fun mitzvah by:

Consider providing a seudah or feast for others – collect cans or non-perishable food at your Purim meal for a local food pantry! See what places like So Others May Eat (SOME) need. In the truest millenial fashion, consider having guests purchase items in need off of Miriam’s Kitchen’s Amazon Wishlist.

Photo courtesy of The Jewish Federation

Matanot Le’evyonim: Giving back to those in need

Incorporating the spirit of service into the other Purim mitzvot can also help in bringing the spirit of Purim joy to the mitzvah of Matanot Le’evyonim!  This Purim mitzvah invites us to help at least two people and to provide enough food for a full meal. Go bigger than our typical mitzvah to give tzedakah, or charity, and bring the joyous Purim spirit to this mitzvah!

There are so many ways to infuse Purim joy into service work. Some may choose to give traditional tzedakah gifts, but others may prefer to give their time, energy, and skills. Read this article for more ways to give back across DC.

However you celebrate, wishing you a chag Purim sameach – a happy and joyous Purim!

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Shira Cohen is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you! When not writing about volunteer opportunities in DC, she works in student life and disability services at a local law school. Originally from Charleston, SC, Shira loves DC Library $1 book sales and District Taco.

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

DC Purim Events 2015/5775

purim dudeDid you know that here at Gather the Jews we got our name from the Purim story? Having been founded days before the holiday (and this Purim will mark our fifth birthday!), our founders chose to name their organization based on the Purim story.

In the book of Esther, Chapter 4, Verse 16, Esther tells Mordechai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan, and fast for me.”

This passage – issued in opposition to the genocidal plots of Haman – represents the fighting spirit and strength of the unified Jewish people. Gather the Jews tries to bring together the members of the DC Jewish 20s and 30s because we believe in the strength of unification and the positive power of connection.

In that vein, Purim begins Wednesday, March 4th at sun down. Do you know where you’ll be celebrating? There are many opportunities in the coming weeks to celebrate with the DC Jewish Community.

Did we miss anything? Submit events here and/or leave a comment on this post.

Wednesday, February 25th

Saturday, February 28th

Monday, March 2nd

Wednesday, March 4th

Thursday, March 5th

Friday, March 6th

Saturday, March 7th

 

Need some more help for Purim? Here are a couple of costume ideas!

http://www.parenting.com/

http://www.parenting.com/

http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/

http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/

http://www.brit.co/

http://www.brit.co/

http://halloween-ideas.wonderhowto.com/how-to/10-truly-last-minute-halloween-costumes-dont-totally-suck-0149179/

http://halloween-ideas.wonderhowto.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you find your self really in a bind check out these Last Minute Costume Ideas!

 

What about all the great food during Purim?

There of course is Hamantaschen, which we all know and love so lets start there:

You could go for savory with a recipe from the Kosherologist.

http://www.thekosherologist.com/recipes/easy-pulled-bbq-brisket-hamentaschen

http://www.thekosherologist.com/recipes/easy-pulled-bbq-brisket-hamentaschen

 

 

Or the Cookie Overload Hamantaschen from With Love and Cupcakes:

http://withloveandcupcakes.com/2014/03/09/chocolate-chip-cookie-stuffed-chocolate-hamantaschen/

http://withloveandcupcakes.com/2014/03/09/chocolate-chip-cookie-stuffed-chocolate-hamantaschen/

 

 

Or spice it up with Mexican Chocolate Hamantaschen from the Jewish Food Experience:

http://jewishfoodexperience.com/spice-purim-mexican-chocolate/

http://jewishfoodexperience.com/spice-purim-mexican-chocolate/

 

But Purim is not just know for Hamentaschen, there are other great recipes you should try out this time of year!

If you are feeling a bit adventurous maybe try the Cooking Channel’s Kreplach recipe!

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kreplach.html

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kreplach.html

 

The Jewish Daily Forward has a alternative recipe for Poppy Seed Rolls:

http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/136073/poppy-seed-rolls-giving-new-life-to-a-purim-trad/

http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/136073/poppy-seed-rolls-giving-new-life-to-a-purim-trad/

 

And just because we have not talked about desert enough, here is a recipe for Haman’s Fingers from the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-purim-rec4-20120301-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-purim-rec4-20120301-story.html

 

Did we miss any of your favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments!