Meanwhile, Back at the Shushan Bar & Grill...
Make the story of Purim new again with plenty of fun ways for kids to participate.
BY: Elizabeth Applebaum
About two months before Purim, curious noises fill our home. There's a lot of "You know it, baby," said in a confident, raspy voice. And "Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!"--always uttered fast, like a racing train. Invariably, these are followed by a lot of giggling. Several years ago my husband, Phillip, began telling our children a really snappy version of a traditional favorite, the Purim story. Instead of that stilted tale often seen in Hebrew school books ("I must get to the king," Esther said. "For I cannot let Haman fulfill his evil plans."), Phil's account has Vashti employed at the Shushan Bar & Grill (she returns to her old job after losing the king's favor), Haman telling his unwitting admirers, "You know it, baby!" when they heap praise upon him, and King Ahashverosh's eyes bulging out to Mexico and back when he catches sight of the lovely Esther. He gasps, then calls: "Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!"
My children can't get enough of it. They giggle, they scream with pleasure. They literally fall on the floor with laughter. And at the end of the story they always say the same thing: "Tell it again!" If only it could be that way for everyone. Instead, many anticipate a little catnap during the reading of the megillah, the Scroll of Esther, or maybe bring along a paperback to sneak inside. After all, haven't we told the same story year after year after year? Yes, but familiar does not have to mean stale. In fact, all it takes it a little preparation to hearing the story of Purim new, fun and meaningful again for you and your family.
Why They Did What They Did
We all know that Esther was pretty and Mordechai brave and Haman evil. But in fact, a number of interesting texts exist which explore the characters of these famous figures, based on historical information. Before listening to the megillah, do your research. You can start with the Encyclopedia Judaica, continue at your synagogue or temple library, and even look into sites on the Web. Or, invite family members to offer their own insight as to why Haman hated the Jews, or why Esther was so daring.