This month brings Purim, our festival of costumes and masks and merriment.

When my son was little, he used to confuse the names Yom Kippur and Purim. One year he was very excited to wear a costume to Yom Kippur… until I regretfully informed him that Yom Kippur was not the costumes and silliness holiday!

He didn’t know it, but he was following in the footsteps of our sages.

Shavua tov!

Thanks to all who joined us for our masked and costumed Purim Parade yesterday, and especially to our storyteller and family educator Jane Shiyah. That was our first taste of Purim this year. Our next taste will come on Thursday evening (when Purim begins — except in ancient walled cities like Jerusalem, which celebrate Purim one day later.) Join us on Zoom for our annual Purim play.

Thursday, February 25, 6:30pm: Purim Puppet Spiel In The CBI Zoom Room

Join us for our annual Purim play — this year, on Zoom, featuring glorious papier-mache puppets made by David Lane and kids in our community. The play will be performed by CBI members of many ages. We’ll re-tell the Purim story with laughter and merriment. BYO hamentaschen!

Shabbat and Torah

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 9:30am on Saturday morning for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Pam Wax.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Tetzaveh. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Join us in the CBI Zoom room at 9:30am on Saturday morning for Shabbat morning services led by Rabbi Rachel. This week has been designated as Reproductive Justice Shabbat by the National Council of Jewish Women. There will be special poems and readings in our Shabbat service relating to that theme, and Rabbi Pam Wax will offer a d’var Torah about reproductive justice and Jewish values.

Torah Portion and Commentaries

This week we’re reading from parashat Mishpatim. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

And here’s commentary from the URJ:

Havdalah and Concert

There’s also a special event happening on Saturday evening — havdalah (led by Rabbi Rachel) and a concert by acclaimed Jewish musician Neshama Carlebach!

Join community members from across the Berkshires for a special evening of inspiration and light featuring Neshama Carlebach. Complimentary Havdalah candles and spice kit are available for contactless pick up at the Jewish Federation while supplies last. Register here. Co-sponsors: Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, Knesset Israel, Temple Anshe Amunim, Hadassah, and the Berkshire Minyan.

Save the Dates

There are two opportunities to celebrate Purim at CBI this year:

Sunday, February 21, 11am: Masked Costume Parade

Join us for a masked costume parade — from the CBI parking lot, down the street and over to the suspension bridge, across the bridge, and back again. All kinds of costumes are welcome! And even if you’re not inclined to wear a costume, show up and applaud for our kids who are excited about an opportunity to dress up as someone else and shine.

And…

Thursday, February 28, 6:30pm: Purim Puppet Spiel In The CBI Zoom Room

Join us for our annual Purim play — this year, on Zoom, featuring glorious papier-mache puppets made by David Lane and kids in our community. The play will be performed by CBI members of many ages. We’ll re-tell the Purim story with laughter and merriment. BYO hamentaschen!

We hope to see you soon at CBI.

Shavua tov — a good new week to you! And Chodesh tov — a good new month to you; the new lunar month of Adar begins tonight at sundown, which means it’s two weeks until Purim!

Join us for Shabbat services at 9:30am on Saturday morning led by Rabbi Rachel. This week we’re reading from parashat Terumah. If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s parsha, here are a few:

Here’s commentary from Steve Silbert and Rabbi David Markus at Builders Blog, a project of Bayit: Building Jewish:

And here are commentaries from the URJ:

Hope to see you soon at CBI. Save the date and join us at 6pm on Monday March 9 for Purim!

Purim is coming! Join us at 6pm on Monday March 9 to celebrate.

Actors in our Purim play… a few years back!

Come in costume — or augment your regular clothes with costume pieces from Jane Shiyah’s costume box!

Enjoy desserts — and hey, let us know if you want to contribute to our dessert buffet!

Dress like someone you’re not — try on a different persona for the night!

Laugh at our Purim play — and applaud our troupe of community Purim players!

Hear some of the megillah aloud — fulfilling one of the mitzvot of Purim!

Donate to our community tzedakah box — fulfilling another of the mitzvot of Purim!

Eat hamentaschen — or other tasty foods on our dessert buffet!

Toast to joy and gladness — the megillah says Purim is a day of joy and gladness, uprightness and honor, for the Jewish people for all time!

Revel in the full moon — This is the middle holiday of three full-moon celebrations (Tu BiShvat, Purim, Pesach): stepping stones to the coming spring.

Come together in community! Be merry! May our Purim be sweet!

~~~

What to expect at Purim this year: We’re not going to transform the shul into a new space this year as we’ve done the last few years (though we tender our deepest thanks to Jen Burt and her family for that amazing work in years past!) This year we’re planning a simpler celebration, focusing on the Purim story and on the sweetness of our togetherness. We’ll have a Purim spiel (play) that tells the Purim story, and a dessert buffet featuring hamentaschen and other tasty treats. For toasting purposes, we’ll have etrogcello on hand for those who are so inclined, as well as juice and seltzer for all ages.

Please RSVP to the office ([email protected]) or at the Facebook Event and let us know how many are coming, and let us know if you want to bring something for the dessert buffet.

Photo credit: Len Radin.