Congregation Kneseth Israel celebrates 'Superhero Purim'

"Superhero Purim" is coming to Congregation Kneseth Israel, 330 Division St. in Elgin, on Sunday, March 12, with two special events.

Purim celebrates the story of Queen Esther as told in the Book of Esther and the book actually commands Jews to have a party and celebrate. This year's theme is "Superheros."

In the morning, they will have the annual Purim Carnival and Megillah Reading. Aimed especially for the Torah School students and their families, they welcome everyone with joy.

Wear a costume. Make a mask. Sing some songs. Hear the megillah. Play silly games. Taste four kinds of hamantashen, a special tri-cornered cookie. Eat lunch. There also will be the opportunity to taste kosher wine available for sale just in time for Passover. The festivities begin at 10 a.m.

In the afternoon, beginning at 4 p.m., the festivities will continue, aimed at a more "adult" audience. "Indiana Jones will meet Superheroes." On loan to Congregation Kneseth Israel from First Presbyterian Church is an ancient scroll of the Book of Esther. It was "unearthed" in their basement. Acquired in Jerusalem around the turn of the last century by a missionary sent to West Africa, it has languished much like the Dead Sea Scrolls did.

"This is a very exciting find and so timely that it was uncovered in time for the celebration of Purim," said Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein. "We are in the process of having the Oriental Institute appraise and evaluate it. Meanwhile, this is a great opportunity for interfaith dialogue and cooperation. It is especially poignant in a time of rising anti-semitism, that this church and this synagogue can come together to celebrate Purim, a holiday that celebrates that good triumphed over evil.

"We are grateful to First Presbyterian Church and the leadership of their pastor, the Rev. Karen Schlack," the rabbi said.

In addition to hearing the "whole megillah," the whole story of Esther, in the afternoon celebration there will be the opportunity to decorate a modern day megalith with a "Superhero" theme, enjoy more hamantaschen and your favorite adult beverage and make gift baskets for our own local superheroes, our police, fire and school departments.

"There is a tradition that we should share our joy with at least two kinds of food. Hamantashen which represent Haman's hat and something else like an orange or some Hershey's Kisses. Not only with our friends and neighbors but also with people who would do without. In the morning we will make lunches for the Community Crisis Center and in the afternoon these gift baskets for our seniors, the police, fire and schools. We are so grateful for all that they do for us as a Jewish community. By sharing our resources and having fun while doing it, we become role models for our kids - and Superheroes ourselves."

Come as you are or come in costume. Special Superhero snacks will be provided. Visit

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