By: Yarin Chacham, Rosh Chinuch Hanoar Hatzioni Antwerp

How do we celebrate Purim?

We celebrate Purim in our two Kenim (Brussels and Antwerp) with activities about the stories of the Chag (Megilat Esther, Masks, the Persian Empire, the lot…) and finish our day with our traditional disguise contest. In Hanoar Hatzioni Belgium we see Purim as a great opportunity to celebrate a great Jewish Chag. Purim is an amazing Chag because it gives us the opportunity to connect the Chaverim to their Jewish Identity through educational peulot and of course enjoying the Chag. For us, as a Jewish youth movement, it is very important to teach the chanichim about the Jewish traditions and values. The fact that kids love to wear costumes makes this connection much easier to achieve.

The story of Purim gives us the opportunity to teach many educational messages and discuss some dilemmas. Through some characters of the Megila, I would like to present different topics and dilemmas that can be worked with chanichim of glilim, hashmonaim and even with Madrichim.

In Esther’s image, there is a developing leadership. Esther turns from being a passive person into an active and decisive leader for Am Israel. We could compare the role of Esther with the role of women in today’s society. Are there enough female leaders in today’s world? Is society prepared to be led by women? It is important to highlight the growing role of women in Israeli politics,
in which various parties have women in high positions.

Mordechai is the image of a national leader. The question is why Mordechai does not bow to Haman. Is not leaving his people too exposed a sin? This is a question which fits the reality of our current lives. How much responsibility do we give to a leader? The chaverim have to deal with the question of responsibility and at the same time the question of commitment to the movement.

The character of Haman raises many questions of hatred, incitement, intrigue and injustice within the system. From that description, we can lead the chaverim to think how we face the “Haman” in our lives, how to face the problems we have and the things we do not agree with and want to change.

Achashverosh represents a comic figure in the Megillah. A king who encounters leadership situations but does not really know how to handle them himself. We can ask the chanichim and the madrichim what are the critical points of a leader in the kvutza, in the tnua or even in Israel.

There is also a need for critical insight and ask ourselves “what could I have done differently?”.

May fun, merriment and laugh keep our spirits high and make the Purim celebrations unforgettable. That and of course educating our chanichim ad lo ieda!

Chag Smeach ve Chazak Ve’ematz!

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