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Purim Traditions at Lester Senior Living

One of the most fun and joyous holidays is approaching fast: Purim! Here at Lester Senior Living, we really cannot wait for the festivities to begin. We are starting some new activities this year that weave in the age-old traditions of Purim, like baking delicious hamantaschen cookies. Before we dive into what our senior activity directors have in store this year, it’s important to retell the story of Purim and why it’s so meaningful to our people. 

The Story of Purim

Purim commemorates the events that took place in the Bible: Book of Esther. The heroes of this story are Esther (of course) and her cousin Mordecai who raised her. Esther was a young, beautiful Jewish woman who was taken to the King of Persia, Ahasuerus, who pretty much fell in love at first sight. His feelings were so strong that he made Esther queen pretty quickly. However, there was a twist (as there always is with great stories)! The king did not know an important part of Esther’s identity, her judaism. Her guardian, Mordecai, advised her not to share this information with the king, as some people in Persia felt a certain way about Jews.

Which leads us to the bad guy: Haman. He’s the ignorant and self-absorbed advisor to the king, who decided he wanted to destroy all Jewish people just because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him. He told the king, “There are certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm… they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore, it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8. Since King Ahasuerus trusted him as his advisor, he didn’t really give Haman’s evil plan too much thought. When Mordecai found out about Haman’s malicious intentions, he persuaded Esther to essentially talk the king into saving their people. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself before going to speak to the king. 

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending for our people. The king welcomed Esther with open arms and not only put an end to Haman’s malicious plan, but also accepted Esther’s true identity as a Jewish woman. Because of Esther and Mordecai, the Jewish people were saved!

How We’re Celebrating Purim 2023 at Lester Senior Living

  • Purim Parade with Dave Elgart! Similar to Halloween, we encourage all of the seniors at Lester Senior Living to dress up in costumes and walk in a parade for Purim. The fun part about dressing up? Anything goes! As long as the costume is cheerful and positive, we love to see it! And no parade is complete without live entertainment. The talented Dave Elgart who is known for his renditions of Classical Music, Show Tunes, Jazz Standards, Sinatra and more.
  • “Party for Purim: We’ve Got Talent!” This year we will be having our first ever talent show with residents at Lester Senior Living. Whether our residents want to get up on stage and sing, do stand-up or re-enact the story of Purim, we look forward to watching each of our seniors shine!
  • Baking Hamantaschen Cookies with the Morristown Jewish Center, Beit Yisrael. These delicious triangular fruit-filled cookies are representative of bad guy Haman’s three-cornered hat. Our residents are encouraged to share these treats with their friends and family. This act of sharing is known as “shalach manos” and is native to Purim.  
  • Annual reading from the Book of Esther. Some traditions are just too good not to change! The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the book of Esther, which we read to our residents every year.  While listening to this reading, it is custom to boo, hiss, stamp one’s feet and rattle noisemakers whenever Haman’s name is mentioned. After all, he is the bad guy and it’s our residents’ favorite part of the reading! 

If you’d like to know more about how we are celebrating Purim at Lester Senior Living, or have any other questions regarding our senior care services, please give us a call or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/