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Jewish holiday of Purim will include ancient story retold by puppies

Purim goes to the canines this year at Congregation Ner Tamid, and that’s an excellent factor.

As half of this year’s observance of one of essentially the most festive holidays on the Jewish calendar, Congregation Ner Tamid subsequent week will premiere a video wherein the story of Purim is acted out by some severely cute canines.

The celebratory vibe of Purim — which this year begins on the night of Thursday Feb. 25 and ends the night of Friday Feb. 26 — could also be much more welcome than ordinary this year. Rabbi Shea Harlig of Chabad of Southern Nevada remembers that COVID lockdowns started just some days after the celebration of Purim final year.

And whereas space synagogues this year are planning celebrations with a watch towards COVID, the holiday’s festive nature is certain to stay.

Purim remembers the story greater than 2,300 years in the past in Persia of the plotting of Haman, the king’s depraved advisor, to kill all of the Jews in Persia. Plot twist and lengthy story quick: Queen Esther adjustments King Ahasuerus’ thoughts by revealing that she, too, is Jewish and saves her folks.

“It’s a minor holiday with a major message,” stated Cantor Jessica Hutchings of Congregation Ner Tamid. “It’s the story of our freedom.”

Purim is widely known by studying the Purim story from the Scroll of Esther, with audiences inspired to yell and boo Haman when his identify is talked about and cheer when Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, the story’s heroes, seem.

It’s additionally celebrated by dressing up in costumes, giving presents of meals and serving to the needy. Often, carnivals or different occasions are held.

“It’s supposed to be festive,” stated Harlig, and is “one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar.”

Rabbi Malcolm Cohen of Temple Sinai stated one of his personal Purim traditions is to present a foolish sermon the Friday night time earlier than Purim. People who aren’t accustomed to Cohen’s custom typically discover that “people around them are laughing and they’re like, it sounds funny, but they’re not sure if they should laugh,” he stated.

In addition, “a lot of people do themed celebrations,” Harlig stated, similar to Chabad’s “Purim under the sea” when “we had people dress up like fish.”

This year, youngsters at Chabad will be dressing up for a dressing up occasion, whereas Cohen stated Temple Sinai is having a socially distanced carnival for youths this weekend and two on-line occasions on Purim.

But it’s the inventive ways in which the story of Purim might be retold that units it other than extra somber non secular holidays

“We do Purim spiels, which are plays, basically, to whatever theme,” stated Hutchings, co-creator of Congregation Ner Tamid’s “Puppy Purim.”

“I’ve done ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Grease,’ and ‘Star Wars’ just in the years I’ve been here,” she stated. “Kids look ahead to it. They begin asking in September when college begins, ‘What’s’ the theme?’ “

This year’s theme was devised by Hutchings and Cantor Lizzie Weiss of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, who collaborated in making the puppy-centric video that will be proven this year.

The buddies met over Hanukkah and had been discussing Purim prospects when “we looked at each other and said, ‘What if dogs could tell the story of Purim?’ ” Hutchings stated.

The video’s stars — together with Hutchings’ Lab, Buttercup, who performs Queen Esther — had been costumed and filmed sitting, strolling and performing different actions. The items then had been edited collectively right into a 15-minute story with human dialogue added.

“We did special funny voices and cute backgrounds,” Hutchings stated. “It’s pretty hysterical.”

The video will premiere on Congregation Ner Tamid’s Facebook Live feed at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. The congregations’ children even play components within the video.

“It was a little sad to have to tell them no play this year,” Hutchings stated. “So we decided we were going to have commercial interruptions. We have kids from both synagogues telling cute little animal jokes.”

Purim weekend festivities — which additionally will include a pet blessings at 9 a.m. and canine adoptions from 10 a.m. to midday on Feb. 28 — will function a welcome break from the pandemic. Akselrad recalled that solely days after final year’s celebration “the temple was closed and we had to figure out how to use technology to communicate with our congregation.”

“There have been a lot of challenges” with COVID, Akselrad stated. “One of the challenges is to think outside of the box and be more creative.”

Contact John Przybys at [email protected] Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.