SOURCE: Lerner Jewish Community Day School

Lerner Jewish Community Day School

March 18, 2016 08:00 ET

Small Southern Jewish Day School Celebrates Festival by Feeding Those in Need

Students Collect Non-Perishable Food Items During Purim Festival

DURHAM, NC--(Marketwired - March 18, 2016) - On March 24th, The Lerner Jewish Community Day School, a small Jewish Day School in Durham, North Carolina, will mark its celebration of the Jewish festival of Purim by dressing up in costumes, playing games, and singing songs. The students at Lerner will also devote time and effort towards feeding those in need.

The Purim celebration is one of joy and giving. A central tradition of the Purim celebration is Matanot L'eviyonim, or the collection of money for the needy. In the weeks leading up to Purim, students at The Lerner School will collect food for the North Carolina Food Bank. In this way, the students will emphasize one of the core elements of Purim: taking care of others who are unable to advocate for themselves.

The festival of Purim recounts the biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful Jewish woman living in ancient Persia, and her cousin, Mordecai. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, because of her beauty. Later, she was chosen to become queen, but the king did not know that Esther was Jewish. The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant and self-serving minister in the king's court. Haman hated Mordecai. Mordecai had refused to bow down to Haman, which prompted him to plot to destroy the Jewish people. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he wished.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to intervene on her people's behalf, which was a risky tactic, because anyone who came into the king's presence without first being summoned could be put to death. Esther went to the king to beg for her people's lives. The king welcomed her and ensured that Haman's plot was overturned. The Jewish people were saved.

The story of Purim reminds us to speak up when we see injustice and to be proud of our identities. Purim is a time when children at The Lerner School learn that part of being true to ourselves involves being brave and protecting those who are in jeopardy. The school wide effort to raise money and to collect food for the NC Food Back epitomizes these values.

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