NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Jewish people around the world celebrated Purim this week.
It’s a joyous holiday when children dress up, play games and spread the goodness of charity.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu visited the Purim party at Beth El Nursery School in New Rochelle on Thursday.
The children wore costumes, because Queen Esther had to disguise her Jewish identity to survive in ancient Persia, but then revealed herself to save the Jewish people.
Another tradition is listening to the Book of Esther, which tells the story of Purim, and eating certain foods, like stuffed cabbage, kreplach dumplings and the Hamentaschen cookie – a holiday favorite.
“The special food we eat is called a Hamentaschen, from the word Hamen. Hamen was the bad guy in the story,” Ronnie Becher explained. “Hamen’s hat was a triangle shape.”
Whenever Hamen’s name is mentioned, the kids drown it out with noisemakers for fun.
The holiday is also about helping others. Children go house to house collecting money for charity and giving out food baskets.
“We have opportunities to give packages of food to people,” Rabbi David Schuck said. “An important part of the holiday is the opportunity to give money to the poor.”
The children at Beth El collected shoes for the needy, for the group Soles4souls.
“Distributed to the over 47 million families living in poverty who don’t have shoes. It just makes it resonate for our children,” said Becher.
It’s also customary to eat, drink and be merry. So enjoy!