By Mabel Frank, MHWOW Program Manager

Alex Kovalchuk’s Purim Celebration in Kyiv, Ukraine

Purim is fast approaching and we’re here to help. This joyous holiday celebrates Jewish survival led by the heroine Esther, who saves her people from massacre in ancient Persia. Purim has many recognizable customs, including yelling “boo!” upon hearing the antagonist Haman’s name, hamantaschen cookies, costumes, and celebrating with wild abandon. Most importantly, there are four mitzvot, or commandments, traditionally completed for the holiday: listen to the Megillah (the Purim story), send mishloach manot (food gifts) to friends, enjoy a feast, and give to those in need. We’re here with some fresh ideas to help you observe these mitzvot with your MHWOW community and budget!

Megillah Improv

Becky Wartell’s Purim Cabaret in Portland, Maine

Gather friends to read the Book of Esther, then… challenge them to improvise it! Quickly cast willing participants, get into silly costumes, and act out the story with audience participation encouraged. If improv seems too intimidating, you can always try writing your own Purim spiel script or find a funny one online. Provide some basic craft supplies like construction paper, markers, and tape to be able to make some quick costumes and props.

Virtual Misloach Manot

Put together mischloach manot baskets for friends then enjoy them together virtually. Include things like candy, fruit, cookie dough, drinks, or ingredients to bake a special treat, as well as supplies to make a Purim craft over Zoom. Consider recycling bin groggers, clothespin dolls, or holiday cards. You can also explore ideas for themed mishloach manot here, like high tea, sports fans, or cheese lovers!

The Hamantaschen Potluck

Gwenn Barney’s Purim Baking in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Feast on a hamantaschen potluck! Ask each participant to bring a creative hamantaschen filling, make the dough ahead of time, and then fill away. Need some flavor inspiration? Explore savory options like everything bagel, taco, cauliflower paneer, lamb & pine nut, and caramelized onion, or go sweet with peanut butter & jelly, pear & ginger, apple pie, or salted caramel. Bonus points if they bring a drink pairing. The best filling winner gets to direct the Purim spiel!

Give as a Group

Lauren Marx’s Tie-Dye Purim Masks in San Diego, California

Giving is better together! Galvanize a group and multiply your impact. Think of a project that feels important to you and will motivate your community. Here are some things to consider to help get you started:

  • Is there a local organization in need of supplies? Collect money or materials to donate.
  • Find a project organized by Repair the World or a nearby synagogue.
  • Bake or make: raise money by selling homemade hamentaschen or challah, or use any skills you have to make and sell an item.