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Alte Synagoge in Baden-Baden, Architekt: Ludwig Levy, 1899 erbaut, 1938 zerstört

 

PURIM

 is a joyful day of commemoration in memory of the rescue of the Jews in Persia, an event described in the Book of Esther. This book is about the Jewish minority, which was persecuted due to its different customs. The Persian`s king Ahasuerus was reportedly incited by his minister Haman to kill all the Jews in his empire. This was to happen on a particular day chosen by lot (= Purim). Esther, the king`s Jewish wife, learned about it just in time. She fasted for three days and told the Jewish inhabitants of the capital of Susa to do likewise. Thus she felt reinvigorated and dared to change the king`s mind in this controversial matter. She succeeded. The Jews were granted permission to defend and take revenge on their enemies on this day (chosen by lot).

Purim in IsraelIn commemoration of Queen Esther’s days of fasting, one fasts for one day before Purim. Although people work on this holiday – as already described in the Book of Esther – this day is celebrated with a feast, the presenting of gifts in the form of traditional pastries (so-called Haman-Cakes representing the ears of the evil minister Haman) and with donations to the poor. There are many different local customs associated with this day. Especially popular is dressing up children and performing Purim plays, which usually contain the story of Esther. When reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue, children are allowed to loudly interrupt the story every time the name of the wicked minister Haman is mentioned.