Purim 2023

What is Purim?

Purim, also called the Feast of Lots, is a joyous Jewish holiday where we commemorate the salvation of the Jewish people from a threatened massacre in the ancient Persian Empire. The Jewish people are saved from the evil Haman’s plot to destroy and annihilate the Jews. The Purim story is read every year on this holiday and can be found in the Book of Esther. Esther is our famous heroine and she plays a leading role in saving our people. This holiday is celebrated in a loud and raucous manner with noise being made every time Haman’s name appears in the story so that no one can hear it. It is also customary to give gifts to friends and to make monetary donations to those in need.

Purim has been likened to a Jewish carnival where dressing in costumes and parading around is common . To honor Esther’s necessitated deception, we pretend to be something we’re not. There is also the custom of telling the story by putting on plays, called “Purim shpiels”, in the community.

The Purim story has Esther, aided by her cousin, Mordechai, devising a plan to thwart Haman’s decree that all Jews be exterminated. Esther rises to be the Queen of Persia, while hiding her Jewish identity from all. Mordechai encourages her to risk her life by revealing her identity to her husband, the king. She does this and the king has Haman hanged and Mordechai made the prime minister in his place. Instead of the decree that the Jews will be destroyed, a new one is made which allows the Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies thus making this a very celebratory and festive Jewish holiday.

When is Purim?

Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). Purim 2023 begins on Monday night, March 6 and continues through Tuesday, March 7.

What are Purim Foods?

Two traditional Purim foods are hamantashen and kreplach. Hamantaschen is a triangular pastry or cookie and kreplach is a small dumpling or pastry. Both of these foods have fillings hidden inside them and evoke the hidden nature of the Purim miracle. Children enjoy that the three-pointed hamantashen are said to symbolize Haman’s three-pointed hat or his triangular ears.

How can we tie the holiday of Purim to animal advocacy and veganism?

Purim is a holiday where we celebrate bravery and deliverance from destruction. Our growing vegan Jewish community is showing immense bravery as we stand up and teach about the horrific practices of animal agriculture. By advocating for a transition to plant-based eating, we are working to stop the destruction of our planet and our climate that is being caused by factory farms. According to midrash or tradition, Esther became a vegetarian when she moved into the king’s palace so that she could avoid eating foods that were not kosher. Her vegetarian diet allowed her to easily keep kosher, while still keeping her Jewish identity a secret. It’s not a surprise that a plant-based diet makes keeping kosher so easy. Not only is kosher food deemed to be healthier, but the vegan diet ate by Esther elevated her physical health and spiritual purity. Because of her diet, Purim menus worldwide include beans, chickpeas, poppyseeds, nuts and dried fruits. Purim, the most joyous holiday in the Jewish year, is celebrated with a multi-course feast accompanied by wine. In Queen Esther’s honor, we are delighted to share vegan recipes for the festive meal.

Check out this recording of our webinar in partnership with Jewish Veg! Why is veganism a feminist issue? Let’s learn from Queen Esther herself and our amazing storytellers, singers, and panelists. We’ll talk midrash (Biblical commentary), animal and gender rights, and the role that feminism plays in our food ethics.
Here is a fun retelling of the story of Purim by Founding Member and Senior Leadership Consultant, and (Vegan Jew!) Mayim Bialik!

Plant Based Purim Recipes!

Find printable versions here!

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