Helping Others on Purim

Purim is a celebration – and a time to take care of each other.

The Jewish holiday of Purim is just around the corner. Families will dress up, shake their groggers (noisemakers), and read the story of Esther. Purim is a festive holiday—a time to celebrate the resilience of the Jewish people and the story of the savvy heroine, Queen Esther, and her uncle Mordechai. In the story of Purim, Esther and Mordechai save the Jewish people from the scheming of the evil Haman. By rejoicing on Purim with friends and community, whether by dressing up in costumes, sharing gift baskets, or producing purimspiels, Jewish families all over the world honor Mordechai and Esther and triumph over Haman again.

To celebrate and give thanks for being saved, the Jews were directed to fulfill four Purim mitzvot or commandments. All of the Purim mitzvot are related to taking care of one another – and there’s one very special mitzvah about sharing, doing tzedakah, and giving to the needy. Giving gifts to the poor which is matanot l’evyonim, ensures that everyone has the means to celebrate during the holiday. Check out some easy—and fun—ideas for performing this mitzvah with your family this Purim.

Book Drive

As an alternative to donating money to an organization, collect books and simple games that your children can help deliver to the children’s floor at your local hospital. For more ideas about where to donate your gently used PJ Library books, check out Brightly’s suggestions for 5 Great Places to Donate Your Old Books.

Dry Goods Groggers

Are you hosting a reading of the Purim story or organizing the purimspiel in your community? In lieu of using groggers or noisemakers at your celebration, invite families to bring a new, sealed, box of dry goods like pasta, beans, or soup mixes. After the spiel, collect everyone’s box or bag and donate them to a local food pantry.

Donations Instead of Tickets

In lieu of selling tickets for a Purim carnival or family event, ask participants to bring something to donate. You can collect eye glasses for organizations that redistribute them to families in need, gather canned goods for your local soup kitchen, coats or prom dresses for kids in need, or blankets for shelters and care packages.

Make and Deliver Gift Baskets

Assemble some Purim gift baskets, known as mishloach manot, and bring them to a local elder care facility. Spend some time visiting with residents as you deliver your mishloach. You can even pack a favorite Purim story or PJ Library book to read together.

Visit the PJ Library Purim Hub for easy costume ideas, book lists, and more!