Category Archives: Purim

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Tetzaveh – and Purim!

Dear all,

return-to-shabbatShavua tov — a good new week to you.

Join us on  Shabbat morning at 9:30am for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Pam Wax.

This week we’re reading Tetzaveh. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, here are a few:

And here are commentaries from the URJ: Tetzaveh at the URJ.

On Saturday evening at 5pm, join us at CBI for our Addams Family Purim!


Come at 5pm to enjoy the building transformed by Jen Burt into a locale fit for the Addams Family. Bring a vegetarian / dairy potluck dish for our dinner at 6pm, with Purim Spiel to follow around 7pm. Come in costume… or put on costume elements when you get here; we’ll have some on hand!

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact the office.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel


Save the Date: A Very Harry Potter Purim!

A New Design

And while we have your attention… mark your calendar for the second-night community seder at CBI on Saturday, April 23 —

and for the amazing Shavuot retreat at Hazon, June 10-13, at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in northern Connecticut!

Are you coming for Purim? Let us know!

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

February may be the shortest month on the calendar, but it always feels longest — thanks to the snow and the cold, of which we have had more than our share this year! But spring is on the way, and one of the ways we know that is that Purim is in just a few days.

Please RSVP to Jack (663-5830 or office at cbiweb dot org) to let us know whether you are joining us for our Alice-In-Wonderland-themed Purim celebration next Wednesday evening! In your RSVP, please let us know:

1) How many are in your party (adults and children)

2) Whether you’ll be joining us for pizza at 5:30 before the Spiel

3) What you can contribute to the nibbly-foods buffet for after the Spiel

(We’re hoping for a Middle Eastern buffet this year — you might bring olives, cheeses, roasted vegetables, hummus / pita…) And of course you’re always welcome to bring hamentaschen and/or other desserts, too.

If you don’t have a costume, never fear — we’ll have boxes of costume items available for anyone who wants to augment their ordinary attire.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a few verses of the Megillah, enjoy your fellow CBI members’ acting abilities, and ring in the approaching springtime! I look forward to seeing y’all at Purim.

Blessings to all,

Rabbi Rachel

The Mad Hatter Invites You… To Celebrate Purim!

Don’t be late, don’t be late
for this very important date!


The Mad Hatter invites you
to a Purim “tea party”
Wednesday, March 4 at CBI
pizza at 5:30; the celebration proper begins at 6

  • explore the topsy-turvy Wonderland of our building!
  • play flamingo croquet!
  • enjoy the childrens’ costume parade!
  • savor our Alice In Wonderland-themed Purim Spiel!
  • hear some of the megillah read aloud!
  • play a variety of games (for all ages!)
  • enjoy a tasty beverage in celebration!
  • all are welcome to bring hamentaschen or other desserts to share — AND/OR contributions to our savory nosh buffet, which will be Middle Eastern / Persian themed (think: cheeses, olives, grape leaves, hummus and pita, etc)

Please RSVP to the synagogue office by February 25! Let us know:

1) How many are in your party
2) Whether you want to partake in pizza at 5:30
3) What you’re bringing to the sweet-and-savory buffet. (If everyone’s bringing hummus, we’ll get in touch to try to diversify our offerings.)


Don’t Miss Purim at CBI!


Don’t Miss Purim at CBI!

Join us for a night of Purim revelry on  Saturday, March 15:

6pm pizza dinner (RSVP to the office by midweek so we know how much pizza to order)

Costume Parade 
(prizes for kids in costumes!)

followed by our PURIM SPIEL

featuring intrigue! disguises! passion! revenge!
ably acted by a cast of CBI congregants

refreshments to follow — please bring something to share
(we’ll have cookies for all ages, and a little bit of schnapps for adults)

Our sages teach: “When Adar enters, joy increases.” The new month of Adar 2 (the month containing Purim) begins on Saturday night. Here’s to increasing our joy!


Celebrate Purim at CBI!

Come Celebrate Purim at CBI!


Saturday, February 23
at 6:30pm:
decorate a mask
(for Purim is our festival
of merriment & disguises)

at 7pm: enjoy our Purim Spiel

featuring intrigue! disguises! passion! revenge!
ably acted by a cast of CBI congregants
directed and written by David Lane
refreshments to follow

Come in costume (if you’re so inclined)
or come in street clothes and decorate a mask.

All ages welcome!

(Downloadable Purim flyer — print it and hang it on your fridge! — right here: PurimFlyer2013 [pdf])


For more: How to Celebrate Purim in 5 Easy Steps.

How to Celebrate Purim in 5 Easy Steps

Purim is coming! The next festival on our calendar begins at sundown on Saturday, February 23. Want some tips on how to celebrate? Here are five things you can do to experience Purim wholly this year.

megillah1. Listen to the megillah. This is one of the holiday’s central mitzvot: to hear the story contained in the Book of Esther. Here at CBI, you’ll be able to hear the story in our Purimspiel (Purim play) on Saturday night, Feb. 23 — Reb Rachel will chant a handful of verses of the Hebrew in classic style, interspersed with our actors’ renditions of the wild and wacky Esther comedy. Special bonus: make noise to drown out the name of Haman!

2. Give to the needy. This is a year-round mitzvah, but it’s heightened on Purim, when it’s an extra-special mitzvah to give to those in need. Purim this year takes place on Saturday night February 23 and Sunday February 24…and as it happens, that Sunday, February 24, is our week to cook meals for 120+ homebound seniors in North Adams as part of Take and Eat. All are welcome to pitch in and lend a hand. (Also consider fiscally supporting this holy work – a monthly meal for more than 100 needy people costs about $180.)

mishloach-314113. Send tasty food gifts. There’s a tradition of giving mishloach manot, baskets of yummy goodies, to friends on Purim. Bake some cookies (or support a local Girl Scout — the Williamstown troop will be selling cookies at the Paresky Center at Williams today) and drop a plate of tastiness off at a friend’s house. Or a fruit basket, or a box of granola bars, or a bottle of juice: whatever’s easy and delicious. Better yet, if you have kids, go the traditional route and enlist your kids in delivering the treats for you. (Think of it as a kind of inverse trick-or-treating, in which kids show up at other people’s houses and deliver goodies, instead of taking them away.)

4. Dress up / wear a costume. This is our festival of masquerades and masks. In the Purim story, Esther hides her true nature — and some say her name comes from the word nistar, “hidden.” Even God is hidden in this story (God does not appear anywhere in the text of the megillah.) We too get to enjoy hiding and costuming on this day: wear a costume or a mask to our Purim party (Saturday night Feb. 23), let your kids dress up in costumes, try out a new style, dress up as someone else, experiment with hiding yourself (or perhaps revealing a new facet of who you truly are.)

be-happy65. Rejoice. It’s a mitzvah to enjoy yourself on Purim. Eat a festive meal. If you drink, bless some wine and enjoy that too. One Hasidic teaching says that on this holiday, we’re supposed to become so “perfumed” that we forget the difference between Haman (the bad guy) and Mordechai (the good guy), a neat teaching which is often misunderstood. It’s not about getting so blotto that you can’t tell one thing from the next, but rather letting go of life’s usual ideas and rules and roles for a day. Kick back, have some fun, and take a moment to be grateful for all of the miracles in your life, including the Purim one.