Purim Is Coming!
The Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrating the triumph of the Jewish people over an evil ruler, begins Saturday night. It is considered a minor holiday, but it is MAJOR fun; kids and adults alike dress up in costumes to hear the story of Purim chanted and everyone delights in Hamantaschen, a sweet triangular treat.
On Purim, Jewish communities read the Book of Esther, which tells the story of Queen Esther, whose husband, King Achashverosh (say that three times fast!), did not know she was Jewish. When his evil advisor Haman planned to kill all the Jews in the Persian empire, Esther’s uncle Mordecai convinced her to speak to the king, thereby saving the Jewish people and removing Haman from power. In commemoration of this story of good overcoming evil, Purim is one of the most joyous—and wacky!—holidays in the Jewish calendar.
And hamantaschen (named for the evil Haman, in a dig at his ears, apparently) are one of the most joyous parts of the holiday! The Culinary Literacy Center (CLC) is happy to share a favorite hamantaschan recipe—with an added twist. Traditional hamantaschen are filled with a poppy seed filling or fruit preserves. But as Purim calls for reversals and zaniness, so too can it be extra fun to add in some sweet creativity!
Use the dough recipe below and fillings of your choice! Try peanut butter and chocolate chip, mint chocolate (using Andes mints), black-and-white (with regular and white-chocolate chips), peanut butter and jelly, or M&M-filled! Or choose a favorite traditional filling: poppy seed, fig, date, apricot, strawberry, or prune.
Make Your Own Hamantashen!
Jewish Holidays All Year Round includes kid-friendly recipes, crafts, and activities for celebrating each holiday. Here’s a recipe for hamantashen that families can make together, which has been adapted from the recipe on page 53.
Purim Stories to Share with Your Family
The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale by Eric A. Kimmel
Holiday House, 2011
Eric Kimmel puts the Persian queen at the center of the holiday tale as he tells the story of how Esther outsmarted the wicked advisor Haman and saved her people. Full of vibrant golds and expressive reds, Jill Weber’s illustrations really make The Story of Esther shine. Esther’s wit, Mordecai’s courage, and Haman’s rage come to life through her playful, color-filled paintings.
Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin
Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010
Cakes and Miracles is a touching story of a blind boy who dreams of helping his widowed mother bake hamantashen to sell. The story was originally published in 1991, but this 2010 edition features new illustrations by Jaime Zollars and a shortened, updated text. Follow the soft, warm illustrations and find out if Hershel’s dream comes true!