Congregation B'nai Israel

2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604 | (203) 336-1858 | |

  • Find us on Facebook

The Timeless Lessons of Purim

by Alexa Cohen, March 2018/Shevat-Nisan 5778

Purim is the most festive of Jewish holidays, a time of prizes, noisemakers, costumes and treats. The Festival of Purim commemorates a major victory over oppression and is recounted in the M’gillah, or scroll, of the story of Esther. Purim teaches us some timeless lessons that we be sure to instill in our children:

  • Standing up for one’s rights
  • Remaining committed to the Jewish people
  • Supporting the community
  • Saving lives
  • Caring for the needy

PURIM PARADE! Purim is a special holiday when we are encouraged to be very enthusiastic about being silly and joyous. We are celebrating our freedom, our pride in Esther’s bravery and her clever action in overcoming the evil plot of Haman. Singing, dancing, joking and wearing costumes are among the ways to celebrate as a community. Bonim Preschool holds its own in-school  Purim Parade in the Social Hall for all the children during the school week as well as participating in the larger synagogue wide Purim Parade.

GRAGERS! Essential to Purim are Purim Gragers. Our preschoolers learn that Gragers are the noisemakers used during the reading of the M’gillah. Noisemakers are an easy project for young children and its lots of fun to try them out together. You can make your own gragers using many different materials.

 Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use square juice boxes filled with beans, etc. Dip them in glue then in paper confetti or scraps. Finish by putting a chopstick, Popsicle stick or 1/2 of the cardboard piece from a wire hanger into the “straw hole” for a handle. This is also a great way to encourage recycling.
  • Use small, empty, clean plastic water bottles. Decorate them with scraps of colored tissue paper and paint to cover with watered down white glue. Place dried beans or beads inside, then glue on the top.
  • Make a paper plate grager like the one that Sammy the Spider got stuck in!
  • Other materials you can use: any disposable plastic containers or tin cans with lids. Fill with beans, beads or small stones, glue on lids, decorate and shake!

HAMANTASCHENOne of the favorite activities here at Bonim is making hamantaschen.  Each teacher likes to put their own spin on  the  recipe, some like butter while others prefer oil ; some use orange juice and others lemon zest.  The truth is THEY ARE ALL DELICIOUS!



 4 cups flour
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
 1 tsp salt
 1 orange (grated rind & juice)
 4 eggs
 1/4 cup water          
 4 tsp baking powder
 1 cup sugar 

  1. Sift dry ingredients together.
  2. Cream butter/margarine and sugar.
  3. Beat eggs, then add grated orange rind, water and vanilla to the eggs.
  4. Add butter/margarine to mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. Roll out a little dough at a time on a well-floured board.
  7. Cut into rounds (use a drinking glass with a smooth rim).
  8. Place a teaspoon of filling (prune, poppy seed or preserves—pie fillings work better than jelly or chocolate chips).
  9. Pinch one corner at a time to create a triangle shape, leaving the top of the cookie a little open.
  10. Brush with beaten egg. (For fun, use rainbow sprinkles!)
  11. Bake approximately 25 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
  12. Cool completely before eating. Yields 12-30 cookies, depending on the size of the glass.