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All About Purim 5780 / 2020

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.

Click or tap on the links below to jump to each section:

Rimonim: Youth & Family Programs

Megillah Readings and Services

Mitzvot and Preparation for Purim

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

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

Pre-Megillah Reading Purim Fun for Youth & Families
Monday, March 9

5:30 PM -- Arts & Crafts for younger children (2 and up): HT Classroom 2, 1st Floor.

6:15 PM -- Light pizza dinner for children of all ages: HT Social Hall, 1st Floor.

6:30 PM -- Family Megillah reading! A zany revue featuring highlights of the Megillah, geared toward children K-5, all are welcome:  HT Classroom 2, 1st Floor.

YM & YWHA of Washington Heights-Inwood Post-Purim Carnival
Sunday, March 15 from 12:00-3:00 pm
 54 Nagle Avenue
CANCELLED Find FTJC's activity table with Mira and Rabbi Guy at the Post-Purim Carnival, our local Y's premier annual event!  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. The theme is "It's Not Easy Being Green: A Call to Action." This carnival usually sells out so we recommend purchasing tickets in advance here.

Purim Night!

Evening Megillah Reading and Purimspiel
Monday, March 9, 7:30 – 10:00 PM (Family programs begin at 5:30 PM)

Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall
Our two simultaneous Ma'ariv services and Megillah readings will be like no others, with fantastic leyning and hilarity, sure to be a delight! Come in costume. Children who are still awake are very welcome to join in the fun and stamp out the name of…

5:30 PM -- Children's Programming (details above)

7:30 PM – A) Social Hall: Raucous and dramatic Ma’ariv service with Megillah reading; cheer the heroes and boo the villains with groggers and the usual revelry. B) Classroom 2: simultaneous Ma'ariv and Sensory-Sensitive Megillah Reading with no groggers and quiet booing only; will not necessarily end sooner than the reading in the Social Hall. Both locations will be wheelchair accessible.

9:00 PM – Light break-fast buffet, sponsored by the Griff/Gaebler and Griff/Sleven Family in memory of their beloved father, Harris Morton Griff, and by the Guthartz Family.

9:30 PM – Purimspiel for adults — BYOW (bring your own whatever!)

Purim Morning

Morning Megillah Reading with Shacharit prayers
Tuesday, March 10, 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), followed by the emotional rollercoaster of the Megillah.


Getting Ready for Purim...

Shabbat Zachor
Saturday Morning, March 7

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 Friday, March 6, at 5:30 PM. Packages will be distributed at our Purim celebrations on Monday night, March 9, 5:30-10:00 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)
Monday, March 9

Begins at dawn, 5:55 AM, and ends at nightfall, 7:38 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 or eating disorder 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)
Monday, March 9

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.

Distributing Mishloach Manot with the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood
Purim Day, Tuesday, March 10

Meet 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.

Sat, December 5 2020 19 Kislev 5781