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Holiday Dates

Purim is a joyful holiday commemorating the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from a sinister plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew bible. According to the story, Haman, the king’s advisor, casts lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews. His plans were foiled by Esther, a beautiful, young Jewish woman who became part of King Ahasuerus's harem, and her Uncle Mordecai. Haman hated the Jews because Mordecai, a Jew, would not bow down to him. King Ahasueros loved Esther and made her his queen, unaware of her Jewish identity. Esther told the king of Haman’s plans and the Jews were saved. Purim is usually celebrated by reading the Megilah, a scroll containing the whole story, and by the custom of sending gifts of food and drink. A common treat at this time of year is hamentashen, a sweet pastry recognizable by its three-cornered shape which symbolizes the wicked Hamen’s fabled three-cornered hat.


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