Thursday, March 17, 2011
forty-fifth visit: March 19th 2011 Reform Judaism, Purim
7:00pm saturday Purim
5505 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15217
squirrel hill north
Lee Abrams, whom I met at Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha on March 5th (42nd visit) had suggested that I check out this synagogue as part of my project. (Thanks, Lee.) The stone building itself is stunning. Temple Sinai is housed in the Elizabethan-style former mansion of John Worthington. The sanctuary has been added on. I walk through the building imagining what it would have been like to simply live there every day, calling it home. Fancy.
I attended Purim Spiel at Temple Sinai, a kids' (and some adults) Glee-style, Glee-themed performance of the story of Purim.
The briefest synopsis goes like this: Esther, Queen of Persia, saves the Jewish people, her people, from Haman's intent to kill all the Jews in his surroundings. Throughout more than half of the story, Esther conceals her Jewish identity even from her own husband, King Ahasuerus. Rumor is that in order to keep kosher (without calling it kosher) she claimed to be vegetarian. The rumor of that rumor is that it's her diet of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds that kept her looking so young and beautiful. Her smarts apparently just came naturally, of course. (Is she the reason that Judaism is passed down from mother to child, and the father's faith does not play a role? To honor her?) Back to the story... anyway... it's her revealing her true self as a Jew that allows for the triumphant ending.
Two days ago, admittedly, I knew nothing about Purim. My hour and a half at Temple Sinai fixed that. And I heard that Purim food is the best of all Jewish holiday food. Just had dinner but am craving a taste as I type. Especially Hamantaschen.
And I also learned that Glee takes place in Lima, Ohio, where my Aunt lives and two of my cousins grew up. Also my home state. I had no idea.