Chabad Jewish Center hosts ‘Purim in Italy’ party

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Approximately 60 people attended a “Purim in Italy” party Thursday night at the Chabad SnoCo center in Lynnwood.

Purim is celebrated yearly to commemorate the Jewish nation’s salvation in the 4th century over the danger of mass extermination by Haman, the prime minister of the Persian empire. In short: Persian King Ahasuerus married a woman named Esther (who hadn’t told him of her Jewish nationality). Haman was the king’s prime minister, who hated Jews. When Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, refused to bow to Haman, Haman became incensed and fooled the king into decreeing the killing of all Jews by telling the king, “Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” (Esther 3:8).

As Mordecai rallied the Jewish people to pray, the wise Esther spoke to the king, informing him of Haman’s plot. She also revealed her Jewish nationality to the king, who loved her very much. The king hanged Haman, then named Mordecai the new prime minister.

Part of the Purim celebration involves dressing up in costumes. The rabbi said this is done to show that Purim is a hidden miracle, not an overt miracle.

Rabbi Berel Paltiel read from the Megillah, which tells the story of Purim. Each time Haman’s name was mentioned, followers used noisemakers as a symbolic way of stomping out his name. At the conclusion of the reading, the rabbi said, “I think Haman knows — and the Hamans of this generation know — that there’s no place for them.”

“Let’s celebrate! There’s an energy here; let’s touch it and let’s take this joy and let’s disseminate it throughout our years,” he said.

Following the reading, there was a pizza dinner, along with salad and pasta. “All kosher,” said Rabbi Paltiel.

Part of the Purim celebration involves dressing up in costumes. The rabbi said this is done to show that Purim is a hidden miracle, not an overt miracle.

For entertainment, Richard Sclafani (from the local Tarantellas music duo) walked around the room, playing Italian songs on the mandolin, while caricature artist Jody Morse drew people’s likenesses as fast as he could.

The Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County organized the event.

— Story and photos by David Carlos

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