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All About Purim 5779 / 2019

Purim banner with megilat Esther, kiddush cup, hamentashen and groger.

Purim is an exciting time at FTJC. We celebrate with feasts, fun, retelling and listening to the story of Mordechai, Esther, Vashti, Achashverosh, and the wicked Haman. This year as always we have a jam-packed schedule of programs.

See below for Megillah readings, family programming, and opportunities to fulfill the mitzvot of Purim.

All events (unless otherwise noted) take place in the Social Hall at our rental home in the Hebrew Tabernacle, 551 Fort Washington Ave., please enter on Fort Washington Ave. near W. 185th St.

Purim Night!

Evening Megillah Reading and Purimspiel
Wednesday, March 20, 7:30 – 9:45 PM (Family programs begin at 5:30 PM)

Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall
Our community Megillah reading will be like no other, with fantastic leyning and hilarity, sure to be a delight! Come in costume. Children are very welcome to join in the fun and stamp out the name of…

5:30 PM -- Children's Programming (details below)
7:30 PM – Ma’ariv service with Megillah reading; simultaneous "quiet reading" in Classroom 2.
9:15 PM – Light break-fast buffet, sponsored by the Griff/Gaebler and Griff/Sleven Family in memory of their beloved father, Harris Morton Griff.
9:45 PM – Purimspiel for adults — BYOW (bring your own whatever!)

Purim Morning

Morning Megillah Reading with Shacharit prayers
Thursday, March 21, 7:00-8:30 AM

Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall

Another glorious reading of the Megillah by light of day. Families and children are welcome as always. We begin at 7:00 AM sharp for a quick Shacharit (morning prayers). Come by 7:30 AM to hear the Megillah, scream and shout.

For Families with Children:
Rimonim: A Jewish Learning Community at FTJC:

Pre-Megillah Reading Purim Fun for Youth & Families
Wednesday, March 20 
in the HT Social Hall

5:30 PM -- Zera'im (newborns to pre-K): crafts, stories, and dancing

6:15 PM -- Light dinner for children of all ages

6:30 PM -- Costume parade!

6:45 PM -- Nitzanim (pre-K to 2nd Gr) and Shorashim (3rd Gr to 5th Gr): Purim game show

YM & YWHA of Washington Heights-Inwood Post-Purim Carnival
Sunday, March 24 from 12:00-3:00 pm
 54 Nagle Avenue
Find FTJC's activity table with Mira and Rabbi Guy at the Post-Purim Carnival, our local Y's premier annual event!  In addition to our activity table, we will also be helping collect items for the Siena House shelter. Click here to see what items they need. All are welcome, so dress up, bring the entire family, and be ready for a fun-filled day at the best Post-Purim event in town. This event has sold out in years past, so we recommend buying tickets online in advance

Getting Ready for Purim...

Shabbat Zachor
Saturday Morning, March 16

Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall
9:00 AM — Shabbat Services with special maftir reading, the reminder to “wipe out the memory of Amalek”.
11:30 AM — The reading of the maftir will be repeated at the end of services for those who missed it.

Mishloach Manot (Sending Gifts of Food)
FTJC has set up an easy way for you to send mishloach manot (gifts of food that are sent to family and friends) while supporting your synagogue at the same time. Deadline to sign up is Sunday, March 17. Packages will be distributed at our Purim celebrations on Wednesday night, March 20, 5:30-9:45 PM. Click here to sign up and for an important halachic note.

Matanot l’Evyonim (Gifts for the Poor)
Bring a cash contribution when you arrive for evening or morning megillah readings! FTJC is collecting donations for matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor), which is also a mitzvah for Purim. Or just make a donation online and mark it "Purim Gifts for the Poor". We will be distributing the funds to the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-InwoodEzras TorahAmerican Jewish World Service, and Mazon. It’s also a wonderful practice to carry change or small bills on Purim, so that you can give freely to anyone who asks for money on the street.

Ta’anit Esther (Fast of Esther)
Wednesday, March 20

Begins at dawn, 5:38 AM, and ends at nightfall, 7:49 PM. Fast like the Jewish people depend on it —remember Ta’anit Esther, honoring Esther’s dangerous flirtation with doom (Esther 4:16). Those who are pregnant, nursing, unwell, or have a medical condition that precludes fasting are exempt and should not fast. Likewise anyone who begins the fast but becomes unable to continue should break the fast. Minors are also exempt but older children can learn to participate in some partial way if they’re able.

Giving the Machatzit Ha-Shekel (Tzedakah)
Wednesday, March 20

A pre-Purim custom is to give a small amount (about $1.50) to tzedakah or to a Jewish institution, for every adult member of the household. Based on Exodus 30:11-16, this radically egalitarian custom (“the rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less”) recalls the half-shekel given in ancient times “to make atonement for their souls” — and has been adapted for Purim, perhaps acknowledging the massacre of our enemies in Esther 9:15-16?  The custom is to give during the daytime of the Fast of Esther.

Volunteer Opportunities with the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood

Meet on Purim day, Thursday March 20, between 10:00-10:30 AM, at the JCC-WHI, 121 Bennett Ave., between 186th and 187th St.  Volunteers will walk around the neighborhood, visiting local seniors to distribute tzedakah and deliver mishloach manot. Please contact Anat,, with questions or to register as a volunteer.

Sun, August 25 2019 24 Av 5779