Purim and Chanukah

Purim 2017 Schedule

Saturday Night

Shabbat ends at 6:52 PM. Please do not prepare for Purim (put on costumes, etc) until after Havdalah. Please bring boxes of pasta (or even Wacky Mac) to use for your Purim grogger/food donation for the annual Purim Pasta Grogger donation to Tzedakah.  After hearing the Megillah, please place your pasta boxes in the large box located in the Berman Atrium.

The schedule for the evening is as follows:
7:30 PM: Community Megillah Readings

  • Adult Megillah Reading (Epstein Sanctuary)
  • Halachic Interactive Family Service (Abramson Right Side) Join our Shlicha Rena Ableman, Rabbi Antine, and surprise guests for lots of Purim fun! This new and improved interactive reading (by Nat Lewin) will include sound effects, funny hats, acting, and much more. Kids’ participation is encouraged. Right after the Megillah reading, there will be a costume contest with prizes and live music.
  • Women’s Megillah Reading: (Bobrow Chapel-for women only)
  • Sephardic Reading (Teen Minyan Room-Lower Level)

8:00 PM: NCSY Teen Program Begins in Herschel Hall
Megillah reading at 8:00 PM for grades 8-12 followed by Costume     Dance Party with DJ SHOKO and food. Cost: $10 online, $12 at the door.
For more information click here


In the spirit of V’Nahafoch Hu, the clocks will change on Saturday night! Make sure your alarm is set properly.

8:00 AM Shacharit and 8:30 AM Megillah Reading (Bobrow Chapel)

9:00 AM Shacharit and 9:30 AM Halachic Interactive Family Reading. Kids who come to the reading will receive two tickets for the ECC Purim Carnival! (Epstein Sanctuary)

9:30 AM Women’s Megillah Reading (Bobrow Chapel)

10:30 AM-1:00 ECC Purim Carnival. Open to all! Food, games, face painting, balloons! Tickets for purchase @ door.
For more information click here.

4:00 PM Early Mincha at Rabbi Antine’s House (11800 Seven Locks Road)

4:00-7:00 PM PURIM BARBEQUE SEUDAH AT RABBI ANTINE’S together with Maharat Fruchter.
Don’t miss the special kids Purim show at 5:00 PM with Morah Shimrit! Seudah features music with Matt Tonti and Chaim Fruchter. Come for the whole Seudah or just stop by to say ‘Hi” and have a L’chaim. Wings, hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie options. We will start with mincha at 4:00 PM. Ruach and merriment will be abundant; we only ask you bring a D’var Torah! (even a super short one!) Extra spirits/beer/wine (mevushal) always appreciated :) If street parking runs out, you can park in the shul parking lot and walk over.



Purim is one of the most celebrated and exciting days of the Jewish year. Though the holiday appears to be one of chaos and confusion, it is actually a day of serious religious meaning wrapped in a veneer of enjoyment and folly.

At Beth Sholom, Purim is filled with a variety of meaningful readings of the Megillah coupled with a range of fun social events.  The night of the reading of the Megillah, Beth Sholom members and guests have options that include readings which are family friendly, better suited for older children and adults, just for women, Sephardim and so much more.  Wearing costumes is encouraged so the evening is very festive and joyous. 


We also host an annual Purim Carnival which is filled with all different kinds of games, prizes, and delicious food.  Every year, the Purim Carnival is attended by many families with children of all ages and staffed by Early Childhood Center teachers, volunteers and Beth Sholom teens.

Purim at Beth Sholom is one that our members and guests look forward to every year.  We look forward to welcoming you and your family March 4 and March 5, 2015.

As with all religious experiences, there are regulated and spontaneous moments. On Purim, we have a few regulations, mitzvoth, which are in place to help us prepare for and enhance the spontaneous experiences. We begin the day before Purim with Ta’anit Esther, the Fast of Esther.

Ta’anit Esther: This fast is in place to commemorate the fast that Esther undertook before she approached the king to ask for his help in saving the Jewish People. The fast was added very late in history and is in no way obligatory for pregnant women or those who are ill.

Megillah Reading: All adults are required to hear every word of the Megillah both in the evening and in the morning.  The blessing of sh’hechiyanu in the morning applies to the reading of the Megillah and the mitzvoth of the day – i.e. se’udat purim – the Purim Feast, matanot l’evyonim – Gifts to the Poor and mishloach manot – Sending of Meals.  Please note that the latter three mitzvoth cannot be fulfilled in the evening.

Mishloach Manot: At the end of the Megillah we read of the decree to send gifts to our friends.  One is obligated to give a gift to at least one person, consisting of at least two ready-to-eat foods.  One who is in mourning (during the year-long mourning period for a parent or the month-long period for other relatives) should not receive Mishloach Manot, but is not exempt from giving.

Purim Seudah: The Purim Feast: According to halacha, the Purim Seudah must be a full meal.  This meal is comparable to a Shabbat meal without Kiddush and the mandatory two loaves.  One should wash, eat bread, and recite the Grace After Meals.  At this meal, some have the custom to drink a bit more than usual.  Please remember that according to Rabbi Moshe Isserlis, the Ashkenazic codifier of the Code of Jewish Law, ‘not knowing the difference between Haman and Mordechai,’ can be accomplished by taking a nap, i.e. without the help of liquor.  Also, remember that serving alcohol to minors is illegal in the state of MD.

Matanot L’evyonim: In our collective times of national joy, we do not forget those less fortunate.  Although the mitzvah of tzedakah is constant, there is a special mitzvah on this one day a year to give.  Our rabbis have said that of the four mitzvot of Purim, one should expend the greatest effort on this mitzvah.  They must receive the money on Purim itself.  In today’s society, one ought to spend at least what it would cost to take one’s family out to dinner in a nice restaurant.  This year the shul endorses these specific charities, which will be distributing matanot l’evyonim on Purim.  You may choose to give your tzedakah to whomever you like; remember that Jewish law requires that the indigent receive the money on Purim itself.



Besides lighting Chanukah candles at the daily services held each day, there are several community events each year.  The Early Childhood Center has a Chanukah Party which is very well attended by families with young children.   

For adults, we have frequently held the very popular Dreidel The Night Away in which several hundred people play a variety of casino-type games for which wonderful prizes are won. The excitement of an evening of games and prizes is further enjoyed with delicious foods and drinks provided.

 Recently, a new program was introduced called Meet, Greet and Beat.  This program offers many kinds of table games.  This event was first offered in 2011 and was greatly enjoyed by many members and guests.  Of course, delicious food and a variety of drink options only added to the fun. 

Chanukah was the first struggle for religious freedom in the history of the world.  It was the Jewish people's first affirmation of their right to worship as they wished and their willingness to die for this right.

The events surrounding the Maccabean revolt represented a struggle to preserve the personal religious identity of the Jewish people.  Loss of that religious identity meant a loss of Jewish peoplehood.  This fight for religious freedom was, therefore, a fight for Jewish survival.

The Chanukah lights are first mentioned by the Roman Jewish historian Josephus in his book Antiquities (12:7): "From that day to this we observe this festival and call it lights."

The Talmud speaks of the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah lights in a prominent place in order to "proclaim the miracle" of Chanukah to the entire world.

The Rabbis of the Talmud stressed the miracle of the cruse of oil, rather than the miraculous military victory of the Hasmoneans, for they wished to stress the role of divine intervention and minimize the military prowess of the Hasmonean dynasty.

On the first night of Chanukah, the first candle is placed on the far right.  Each night a candle is added to the left.  On the eighth day, the last candle on the far left is added to the other seven.  Although candles are added to the left, the candles are lit from the left to right.  Each night, therefore, the candle on the far right is the last candle to be lit.  In effect, the last candle to be added is the first candle to be lit each night.

The first and second blessings are said every night.  The Shehecheyanu is said only on the first night.

The "Hanerot Halalu" prayer is read after the kindling fo the Chanukah lights.  The Ashkenazic and Sephardic versions differ somewhat, but the meaning remains essentially the same in both renderings.

The "Al HaNissim" prayer is read as one of the final blessings of the Amidah and is part of the Grace After Meals.

It should be noted that a similar, but different "Al HaNissim prayer is recited on Purim.

In addition to these prayers and blessings, there are no other special Chanukah rituals.  It is customary to sing various Chanukah songs, but they have no special religious significance.

It should be noted that both Chanukah and Purim celebrate the national victory of the Jews over larger, more powerful forces.  With the establishment of the State of Israel, there has been a natural affinity between the victories of the Maccabees and the contemporary struggle for peace and security of the modern Jewish state.