October 21, 2020

Chabad and Hillel host Purim

By Kayla Lafi
Staff Writer

“Today we are celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim, which, like all Jewish holidays, is about people trying to kill us,” said David Lapidow, vice president of Chabad and a fifth-year career and community studies major.

Every year, Purim is celebrated to commemorate the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Prime Minister Haman’s plot to annihilate all Jews in a single day.

After marrying King Ahasuerus, Esther hosted a feast where she revealed her Jewish identity. This led to the hanging of Haman and a festival of celebration.


Students enjoy complementary food. (Sydney Shaw / Former Editor-in-Chief)

Chabad and Hillel, two organizations dedicated to the College’s Jewish community, came together on March 6 in the Education Building to celebrate the holiday. The event featured a flipbook photo booth, complementary food and a comedy show.

“I think that the Purim Party was so successful because Hillel and Chabad came together to put on the event,” said Rachel Miller, a junior communications studies major. “Purim is one of the most fun holidays in the Jewish religion, a day for celebration and being among friends.”

As guests arrived, there was upbeat music playing, a YouTube video about Purim streaming and a buffet filled with kosher food such as pasta, vegetables and sandwiches.

The buffet featured the traditional Purim holiday cookie, Hamantashen. The triangle-shaped cookies, which symbolize Haman’s defeat, are filled with different kinds of filling such as fruit preserves or poppy seeds. According to tradition, the triangle shape represents the prime minister’s tri-corner hat.

“I think the Purim Party was an important event because it brought the community together of Jewish students and others who wanted to learn about our culture in a really enjoyable, interesting way,” Miller said.

Lapidow also emphasized the holiday’s importance.

“(Purim) is not one of the most known holidays,” Lapidow said. “But people think that Hanukkah is a big deal, when really Hanukkah is one of the least significant holidays in Judaism. Purim is actually more important.”

According to Lapidow, the holiday is supposed to be about fun. In celebration, children usually dress in costume and indulge in the festivities.

To continue with this tradition, ComedySportz Philadelphia provided the night’s entertainment. The comedy troupe, comprising Kristine O’Brien, Sean Roach, Jessie Preisendorfer and Josh Holober-ward, arrived in sports jerseys and a referee uniform.

ComedySportz Philadelphia entertains the crowd. (Sydney Shaw / Former Editor-in-Chief)

“Almost every year I perform at a Purim show at the College and at a couple of other synagogues,” said Preisendorfer, a player who has been with ComedySportz Philadelphia for 18 years. “It’s not a tragic story, it’s a festival, so people are always in a good mood.”

During the performance, two teams of comedians competed for points by playing a series of improv games and encouraging active participation from the audience.

Although some students arrived at the event with little knowledge about the holiday, they went home with a new perspective.

Students celebrated Purim by dressing up in costume and taking photographs in the photobooth.

“The holiday of Purim is celebrated as a party with costumes to represent that God’s hidden, but if you look hard enough you can find him,” Lapidow said. “Also, it represents that we aren’t always what we seem to be.”

The event featured a flipbook photobooth that printed out 28 photos in a stop-motion style booklet in addition to party favors like kosher treats, a plastic crayon coin bank and colorful to-go cups.

Both Hillel and Chabad created a fun environment to remind students of their new home at the College.

“We are here for the Jewish community at the College to let them know that when they come to campus, Chabad is here to make them a home away from home,” Lapidow said.

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