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Valuable Lessons Learned During Purim Celebration On Upper West Side

Queen Esther's Story Re-Told In A Fun Way At Abraham Joshua Heschel School
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Purim celebration

Students at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School on the Upper West Side learned valuable lesson on March 8, 2012, about the Jewish holiday of Purim. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Don’t be surprised if you see lots of kids wearing colorful costumes. Jews across the world are celebrating Purim; a joyous holiday that teaches lessons about courage and pride in your identity.

CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu went to a Purim celebration outside Abraham Joshua Heschel School on the Upper West Side on Thursday. The participants went all out to tell the story of Queen Esther. She saved the Jews from persecution in ancient Persia.

“She’s brave and courageous and she saves everybody,” 11-year-old Omri Benichou said.

The kids wear costumes, because Esther had to disguise her Jewish identity to survive but then revealed herself to save the Jewish people.

“It’s a really cool story because there’s so many things that you wouldn’t think would happen that happen,” 11-year-old Julia Benichou said.

So the celebration is often silly and fun.

“The kids have been going to school in their pajamas this week and the teachers have been switching identities that was all leading up to today,” Rabbi Anne Ebersman said.

As the story is retold, each time you hear the villain Haman’s name you’ll hear a certain noisemaker.

“It’s a gragger, so it’s makes a lot of noise,” 11-year-old Nina Lindenbaum said, adding the sound is a reminder of the villain’s name.

There are also special Purim pastries.

“So Hamantaschen are pretty much cookies. The three corners represent Haman’s hat,” student Lara Caligor said.

Another tradition is giving food to the poor and baskets of goodies to friends. Those baskets have become very creative.

The Lindenbaum family made a “Linsanity” basket, filled with different Purim treats and candy and things they exchange with their friends.

And if you’d like to wish your friends a Happy Purim, what’s the best way to do it?

Why say Chag Sameach, of course

As you begin the Jewish month where Purim falls, you’re supposed to get a little more joyful each and every day.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

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