I’ve never taught Purim so close to Halloween, but it certainly made for a great discussion in class last Sunday! We talked first about the holiday of Purim, which is based on the Story of Esther. Today in America it is mainly a holiday for children, with costumes and masks and candy and of course the Purim Shpiel, a play about Esther.
For the essential information about Purim, I gave out this handout: Purim Facts
We also talked a bit about Jewish spooks: the Dybbuk and the Golem. (For more information on those, follow the links.) We talked about the film, The Dybbuk, which was not only interesting for the Jewish folklore, but also because it was filmed in Poland, in Yiddish, in 1937. The world of that film no longer exists, so it is in a way a double ghost story. It is currently available with English subtitles from Netflix.
Next week we begin a new cycle of classes, this time on the Jewish lifecycle events. We’ll start with something that is both a Jewish holiday and something we celebrate with family every week: Shabbat. See you Sunday!