Monday, March 2

Purim + The Queen of Persia

Purim, or the Feast of Lots, is a happy festival that includes lots of drama!  Celebrated in 2020 from sundown March 9th to sundown March 10th, this holiday commemorates the story told in the Book of Esther...

The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus after leaving the Babylonian Empire.  Their greatest ruler was King Darius I.  The first king of the Persian Empire was Cyrus, who issued the famous decree for the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild their Temple.  Under Darius, the second Temple of Zerubbabel was completed; and under Xerxes, or Ahasuerus, the events recorded in the Book of Esther in the Bible happened.  Under Artaxerxes the Jewish state was reformed by Ezra, and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by Nehemiah. The capital of the Persian Empire was Shushan. 
Purium commemorates the bravery of Queen Esther and the downfall of Haman, who tried to persuade King Ahasuerus to cast lots to decide which day would be the best to kill the Jews.  Haman didn’t like the Jews because they were different from him. 

The story is told in the Book of Esther, which is read aloud on Purim.  It is acted out by actors in costume.  People stamp their feet and use noise-makers to drown out Haman’s name.  It is celebrated a home with a banquet, and also by giving food to the needy.  A traditional Purim food is Hamantashen, a cookie designed to look like Haman’s hat.

  • The Queen of Persia
    • His Majesty the King Achashverosh invites all graphic novel fans to choose this book!  Meet heroic Queen Esther, wicked Haman, and saintly Mordechai, and find out what all of Persia is raving about!  It's a classic tale of good versus evil. It has all the elements of a captivating drama: a virtuous heroine, a wicked villain, suspense, intrigue, and surprise plot twists.
  • Cakes and Miracles
  • Goldie's Purim
Younger Children
Make / Do
Bake some Hamantashen!
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup fruit preserves, any flavor
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until lightly and fluffy. Stir in the oil, vanilla and orange juice. 
  3. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter to form a stiff dough. If dough is not stiff enough to roll out, stir in more flour. 
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or the rim or a drinking glass. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  5. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of preserves into the center of each one. Pinch the edges to form three corners.
  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

  • Jews
  • Sabbath
  • Torah
  • Challah
  • Shofar
  • Hebrew
  • Fast
  • Commemorate
  • Purim
  • Haman
  • Queen Vashti
  • King Achashverosh (Xerxes)
  • Hadassah (Esther)
  • Mordechai

Pick up the Jewish Holidays in Literature Bundle!

Each of the ten unit studies in this year-long bundle centers around a book for middle school level and includes videos, cooking projects, hands-on activities, writing assignments, and more.  There are also resources for younger children in eight of the ten units (not in *).

  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Solomon and the Trees + Tu B’Shevat unit
  • The Queen of Persia + Purim unit study (sample)
  • Devil’s Arithmetic + Passover unit study
  • The Secret Shofar of Barcelona + Rosh Hashana unit study
  • The Yom Kippur Shortstop + Yom Kippur unit study
  • The Mysterious Guests + Sukkot unit study
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Hannukah + Chanukah unit study
  • Broken Strings + Fiddler on the Roof + Persecution unit study*
  • The Golem & the Jinni + Kabbalah unit*

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