Dear TEE community,

Like Mardi Gras and Carnival, Purim is a chance to shake off the winter blues. It’s a sign that spring isn’t far away since only a month remains before Passover. Being able to relax, laugh, and look forward to the change of season is all the more important and meaningful in the midst of a pandemic.

This year, we will be able to celebrate together in some familiar and some new ways. Our online service will include megillah reading, music, and — of course! — a spiel. To join in the spirit of things I encourage everyone to come prepared with some or all of the following:

  • a costume (which only has to be from the waist up!)
  • a funny or unusual Zoom background
  • a “boo,” “hiss” or other sign to hold up when Haman’s name is mentioned
  • as appropriate, a glass of wine or other intoxicant to fulfill the tradition that one should become inebriated (for this night only)

When we gather for our Purim celebrations, it will mark a year in the Jewish calendar since we began our COVID shut down. For this reason, I know future Purim gatherings in person will always hold a special meaning for me. Throughout our history, Jewish communities which have survived calamity created a special Purim to mark their deliverance. I can imagine we will want to include special prayers and reflections at Purim next year.

This year, as we commemorate Jewish survival in the past, we can also express our gratitude for the fortitude, ingenuity, and courage which are seeing us through this moment. Best of all, we can do it while lightening our spirits and enjoying a good laugh. I look forward to celebrating with you on the 26th!

Be well / Zei gesunt / Sano,

Rabbi Drorah Setel