Learning About Purim


Purim Special! Rabbi Dr. Rachel Adler will teach a special holiday prep class for those interested in learning more about Purim. It will take place from 7 -8pm on Tuesday, Feb. 19, followed by an hour long continuation of  her regular Samuel 1 series from 8-9pm.

True or False? One of the Mitzvoth of Purim is to get totally wasted. Come and get prepared for Purim and its Mitzvoth!


The joyous holiday of Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from the wicked Haman, through the leadership of Queen Esther (no, not Madonna- the original Queen Esther!)  and her cousin Mordecai. Purim takes place on the 14th day of Adar, the 12th month of the Jewish calendar. This year, Purim begins at sundown on Saturday, February 23.

The story of Purim is found in the Biblical book of  Esther, often referred to as “the Megillah.” This is publically read in synagogues twice on Purim: when the holiday begins at nightfall, and the following morning. When the name of Haman is read, people stomp their feet, hiss, boo, or shake noisemakers to obliterate his name.

Purim is traditionally observed by public readings of the megillah, feasting, gifts of charity to the poor, and gifts of food among friends (known as “Mishaloch Manot”). It is also unique among Jewish holidays in that adults are encouraged to drink until they can’t tell the difference between the phrases “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordecai.” Other popular activities include staging comedic plays, dressing up in costumes, and marching in parades.


The writings of Rachel Adler on Jewish law and ritual have catapulted her into the center of modern Jewish religious discourse, and she is unquestionably among the leading constructive Jewish theologians, translators and liturgists of the modern era, garnering attention from Jewish and non-Jewish scholars, women and men alike.

Rachel Adler married Moshe Adler, an Orthodox rabbi, on December 20, 1964. While this marriage ended in divorce in 1984, the union did produce one son, Amitai Bezalel, born on July 10, 1973. In September 1987 Adler married Los Angeles attorney David Schulman (b. 1951), a committed Reform Jew and social activist who is Supervising Attorney of the AIDS Discrimination Unit of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. The couple now lives in Los Angeles, where Adler serves as Associate Professor of Jewish Religious Thought and Feminist Studies at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Read more about Rachel Adler

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