Students, faculty, and staff captured the jubilant spirit of Purim, donning crazy and creative costumes for the fun celebration on Thursday, March 1.
Held on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, Purim commemorates the heroics of Esther, the Queen of Persia, who saved the Jews from persecution from the villain Haman, the advisor to the king. The story is told in the Meghilla (the Book of Esther).
At the Upper School, Beit Midrash Fellows started off the day hearing a reading of the Meghilla, one of the mitzvahs of the holiday, from Jewish Studies Teacher Rabbi Neal Scheindlin. They exuberantly waved their graggers (noisemakers) each time Haman’s was mentioned. “Hearing the story encourages us to celebrate by turning our world upside down for one day with noise, jokes and costumes,” said Rabbi Scheindlin. “Also, the tradition requires us to share our Purim joy with others. We offer gifts of food to friends and neighbors, and give tzedakah to the needy. "Students, faculty, and staff showed off their outfits at the lunchtime costume contest in the amphitheater. There was plenty of tasty hamantaschen, the delicious triangular cookies, to go around. The fun-filled day wrapped with a Town Meeting, which featured an exhilarating performance by the dance team, a surprise faculty dance routine of “Thriller,” a faculty shpiel and the always-anticipated senior shpiel, which was well received by the excited audience.
The holiday is a favorite for many. "It's a time where everyone goes a little crazy, and you don't have to take things too seriously," said Sabrina Sharafian ’21.
“What I love about Purim is seeing the playful side of people coming out in the costumes they choose," remarked Middle School Creative Writing and Photography Teacher Jane St. Clair.
The Middle School participated in a Meghilla reading where each student read a part of the Purim story. Students were able to also share their personal theology reflections and Purim character monologues related to the holiday. Later they prepared Matanot L'evyonim — food gift packages— for homeless shelters and organizations such as People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and HOPE of the Valley Rescue Mission, fulfilling another of the mitzvahs. Lunch was served backwards in honor of Purim when everything is turned upside down — V'Nahafochu, in Hebrew — at the fun Backwards Banquet. Ice cream sundaes came first, followed by pizza and lemonade. Students paraded around in their costumes at the costume contest, and the teachers put on an amusing shpiel for an enthusiastic audience. It was a meaningful and fun day for everyone.
Milken School is a college prep private day school in Los Angeles established on the foundation of the highest academic standards and Jewish values. This Jewish Day School serves students in grades 7-12.