It might seem hard to imagine holidays more different than Purim and Yom Kippur, yet for many centuries Jews have noted many of the striking connections between the two. On the most basic level, their names are linked – the longer name Yom haKippurim actually includes the word Purim. There are also a great many literary connections between the books read on the two days, Esther and Jonah. But more importantly, the holidays share several central themes: fasting that gives way to feasting, casting of lots, discovery of divine providence beyond the appearance of chance, and reversals of fate.
The Zohar notes the link between two particularly dramatic scenes, one taking place in Esther ch. 5 and the other in the high priest’s rituals on Yom Kippur. That one day of the year, the high priest would dress in his complete finery, dare enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple, and call out the name of God. If he emerged alive, it would be seen as a sign of God’s favor for the entire People of Israel. If not, his fate would indicate the dangers awaiting us all in the new year.
Esther does the same. After three days of fasting, she dresses in full royal attire and takes the potentially fatal risk of entering the king’s inner chamber unbidden. The fact that she receives his favor, that her presence is desired, is the first step to guaranteeing the rescue of the Jews of the Persian empire.
These two episodes that we enact every Purim and every Yom Kippur ask the same fundamental question: Is God pleased by our presence? Does God take joy in us right now, as we are, even in our current form? And we hide ourselves as we ask this question. On Purim, we wear literal costumes. On Yom Kippur, we conceal ourselves under the pretense of an angelic status, as if we’re beings of perpetual prayer with no physical needs. We’re afraid to expose ourselves to God’s answer.
Letting ourselves ask that frightening question is transformative in many ways. On Yom Kippur, it moves us to reveal anything we think, or know, has made us further from an experience of closeness to God. On Purim, it pushes us to the realization that God delights in our presence in the same way that King Ahashverosh celebrates that of his wife the queen. Esther might be carefully strategizing her people’s rescue, but the king is simply excited to accept her invitation to feast together.
So on Purim, we join the king (or King) in celebrating the best of ourselves, knowing that God takes joy in us right now. We feast, sing, give charity, and bring each other gifts. We reserve the hard work of repentance for another day and allow ourselves to delight in all that is already right with us.
Wishing us all a Purim of festivity, joy, and self-embrace!
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times
Friday, Mar. 1 – 5:16pm
Friday, Mar. 8 – 5:24pm
Friday, Mar. 15 – 6:32pm
Friday, Mar. 22 – 6:41pm
Friday, Mar. 29 – 6:48pm
Fridays: 6:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:30 am
Happy Birthday to:
Ian and Cassandra!
COMMITTEE MEETINGS: All are welcome!
Sunday, March 10, at 9:00am
Rabbi Search Committee
Thursday, March 7, at 7:00
David and Mandy are happy to invite the congregation to a Kiddush luncheon
following services on March 9th when their son Ian will be called to the bimah as a Bar Mitzvah.
Please RSVP for the luncheon to SJ in the office or to the family
SAVE THE DATE:
We are looking forward to welcoming scholar Dr. Rachel Adelman
on April 5th and 6th for our Scholar in Residence Shabbat.
Plans for the weekend include
a pot-luck dinner on Friday night and a Kiddush luncheon following services on Saturday.
We look forward to seeing you there!
PURIM BEGINS on Wednesday evening, March 20.
Please join us in costume for a festive reading of the megillah!
Evening Service 6:15pm, Megillah Reading 6:30pm
On Thursday, March 21, morning minyan will begin at 7:00am followed by a reading of the Megillah and refreshments.
Looking forward to celebrating with you!
JOIN US FOR FUN & GAMES!
DON’T FORGET TO WEAR YOUR COSTUME!
SUNDAY, MARCH 24TH @ 10:30AM
We have worshippers who can’t find transportation to services!
Bess in Townsend has lost her rides to services—if anyone was able to help, even occasionally, she would appreciate it! She hopes to attend Friday and Saturday services. Please contact the office. Thank you!
Yahrzeits for March 2019
Mar 1-2: Eli Epstein, Etta Segal
Mar 3-9: Bonnie Bassuk, Morris Bernstein, Morris Bloch, Jacob Brodsky, Ethel Burns, Harry Burwick, Benjamin Cofman, Lillian Elberger, Samuel Frumer, Barbara Kaufman, Charles Krumholz, Hyman Linsky, Paul Nissenbaum, Sophie Selvers, Fannie Tater, Sael Tater, Morris Vigoda, Cecile Weisman, Nellie Winthrop
Mar 10-16: Dorothy Borowsky, Earl S. Britton, Elaine Farb, Nathaniel Greenberg, Lillian Isaacson, Rhoda Levine, Lena Lowis, Julius Newmark, Ethel Skurneck, Beverly Slarskey, Anne Weissman, Sidney Zomlefer
Mar 17-23: Maurice Burwick, Edmund Buzanoski, William Charney, Philip Epstein, Bernard Falk, Irving Gordenstein, Etta Kalin Jacobs, Theodore Katcher, John Kowal, Cline Mendelsohn, Edward Selig, Donald Shaffer, Judith Zatkin
Mar 24-31: Solomon Fine, Morris Goodstein, Toby Holzer, David Kniager, Murray Rosen, Eliane Tonkin
CALENDAR FOR MARCH 2019
Friday, March 1: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Join visiting Rabbi Robert Alpert (no relation) for services!
Oneg to follow services
Saturday, March 2: Shabbat service 9:30am
Join visiting Rabbi Robert Alpert (no relation) for services!
Tot Shabbat 10:30am
Shabbat Luncheon to follow services
Thursday, March 7: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, March 8: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, March 9: Shabbat service 9:30am
Ian Susman’s Bar Mitzvah
Sunday, March 10: Education Committee meeting 9:00am
Monday, March 11: Exec Board meeting 7:00pm, Board Meeting 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 13: Evening Class with Rabbi Spitzer —
“Exodus 19 and Purim: A Playful Exploration of Receiving Revelation”
Dinner to follow—all welcome! Please RSVP
Thursday, March 14: Morning Minyan 7:15am– Led by Rabbi Spitzer
Breakfast to follow—all welcome! Please RSVP
Friday, March 15: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, March 16: Shabbat Service 9:30am
Wednesday, March 20: Evening Service w/ Megillah reading 6:15pm
Thursday, March 21: Purim Minyan and adult Megillah reading 7:00am
Friday, March 22: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, March 23: Shabbat service 9:30am
Sunday, March 24: Purim Carnival 10:30am all welcome!
Thursday, March 28: Morning Minyan 7:15am
Friday, March 29: Kabbalat Shabbat 6:00pm
Saturday, March 30: Shabbat service 9:30am