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Purim Programming 2021/5781

Purim Spiel 5781: The Story of Esther—Remixed

Purimspiel 5781: The Story of Esther—Remixed

Thursday, February 25 at 7:00pm
Don your costume and grab your groggers as Judea Reform congregants tell the story of Esther through a new drama composed by Heidi Aycock. This year’s “remix’ will feature the glorious chanting of Cantor Jacquie Marx, the duclet tones of Lily Posner-hess, and the best musical performances of the last seven years of Judea Reform Purim spiels.  

Join us in the Judea Reform Zoom room and hear Haman as Blondie; Mordcechai as Madonna; and Esther as Alexander Hamilton and more. As is the Judea Reform custom to hold up strong women in the Purim story, don’t be surprised if you hear Esther utter “I am speaking, I am speaking.”

Purim Goody Bag Sign-up

Got Hamentashen? Sign-up for a Purim Goody Bag

Pickup February 25 from 3:00-5:00pm

Would you like some Hamantashen? Because it is Purim in a Pandemic, we are inviting all congregants to a Judea Reform COVID safe curbside pickup to grab a grogger and a box of delicious, assorted Green's Hamantashen (yes, from Brooklyn). Eat it in your car; snack on them  while you watch our virtual Purim Spiel; or have them for dessert after your Indulge Catering meal. 

(Sorry, no special orders or gluten free options) 

Flour, Sugar, Water, Palm Oil, Eggs, Vanilla Flavor, Salt, Baking Powder, Apple, Apricot, Raspberry, Glucose, Pectin, Dried Prunes, Apple Pomace, Caramel Coloring, Poppy Seeds, (Contains 2% Of Less Honey), Algin, Preservative Sulfiting Agents, Potassium, Sorbate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Yellow #5, #40, Artificial, Flavor


Purim Book Event: Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants

Purim Book Event: Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants

Sunday, February 21 at 4:00pm

All ages welcome—young and old—as Rabbi Berkowitz reads to Judea Reform (“live” on Zoom) from her brand new Purim story Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants (published Feb 1, 2021). We will start with a couple of Vashti songs from our Purimspiel; followed by a book reading; and then a Q&A with the author.

As Rabbi Berkowitz (Judea Reform's Associate Rabbi from 2008-2015) writes “there are two queens in the story of Purim: Esther and Vashti. When I was a little girl I always wanted to be Queen Esther, the beautiful and brave girl who won the king’s heart and pleaded with him to save the Jewish people. As a grown-up, I began to also appreciate Queen Vashti, who stood up for herself and said ‘No!’ to the king’s demands even when it meant getting sent away.”

This feminist spin on a biblical event asks why did Queen Vashti, the other Purim royal, refused to obey her king's commands? Although the traditional biblical text gives us no real clue, Rabbi Berkowitz humorously imagines what it might have been like for a Queen to stand up for herself against a string of high-handed demands. Find out why Queen Vashti wears comfy pants. And wear your own comfy pants, if you like.
If you are interested in purchasing Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants, you can order from:

Copies of Queen Vashti's Comfy Pants are now IN STOCK at the Regulator Bookshop. Order yours today for safe pickup and support Durham's oldest independent bookstore! Curbside pick-up & Delivery Options are available! Store hours for curbside pick up only are 12-4 pm Monday - Saturday.  Call the Regulator (919)286-2700 and reserve your copy today. Order online

Dinner fit for a Queen!

Celebrate Purim with a delicious and healthy kosher-style meal from Indulge Catering

ORDER BY February 23 for pick-up on February 25 at 4:00pm
We are excited to partner with Indulge Catering, an acclaimed women-owned, black-owned, veteran-owned catering company in Durham, NC. Get a meal for one or four: gourmet chicken barbeque (with a signature raspberry sauce);  chicken curry (coconut based); and  gourmet baked ziti (with house-made marinara). There are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Meals will be ready for a COVID-safe pickup, curbside at Judea Reform on Thursday, Feb 25 from  4pm-5pm. All meals will be served in oven safe containers, easy to reheat in time for Purim spiel (at 7pm)! Click here to order.
Pick up your Purim Goody Bag of Hamantashen at the same time!

Indulge Catering is an acclaimed women-owned, black-owned, veteran-owned catering company in Durham, NC and a local favorite for special events, corporate catering, and celebratory dinners delivered to you or a loved one. “We pride ourselves on providing a customized VIP experience taking care of every culinary detail. We offer full service Event Catering, Personal Chef Experiences, Corporate Catering, and Wedding Catering services.  When your event calls for superior cuisine and amazing service allow us to provide you with our signature "White Glove" service also known as the Indulgent Experience.”

Discussing Purim

Want to learn more about Purim, the story of Esther, and how it pertains to your modern life? Join us for the following discussions and lectures!

Adar Book Group: My Jewish Year

Thursday, February 18 at 7:00pm
What does it mean to celebrate the Jewish holidays and find fresh meaning in them? Join our Adult Education Committee's Adar Book Group in reading My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wandering Jew by Abigail Pogrebin. This time we will be studying Purim (Chapters 14 & 15). You do not need to have attended earlier sessions to join us! Led by Chip Carnathan. Order the book HERE and let’s read and discuss together! Questions and to RSVP, contact Rena Fraade at

Monarchs and #MeToo: Esther, Purim, and Gender Politics

Wednesday, February 24 at 7:30pm
Purim's "public face" is a party: costumes, carnivals, cookies, and raucous noise, with the Book of Esther at the center. Please join our Adult Education Committee, with Rabbi Laura Lieber, who will lead a discussion of some of the ominous, even troubling, elements of the Purim story—parts we usually gloss over. We will consider how the difficult parts of the Book of Esther can help call attention to the ongoing challenges of the biblical text and simultaneously raise awareness about issues critical to the present day. CONTENT ADVISORY: Topics of Domestic/Sexual Violence will be discussed. RSVP by emailing Rena Fraade at

Pandemic Purim with DRTY

Sunday February 28 at 3:00pm
Are you in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 12th grade? Are you looking to celebrate Purim with other Jewish teens in the area? If so, DRTY has the perfect opportunity for you! Join us on Zoom to discuss important social issues in and outside of our community (including antisemitism in the Purim story); make new friends from the comfort of your own home; and help design new merchandise that might just become our next official piece of "DRTY merch," RSVP here to receive your zoom link for an afternoon of fun and friends.

Purim at Judea Reform

Purim, also known as the Feast of Lots, is celebrated with a public reading—usually in the synagogue—of the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther), which tells the story of the holiday. Under the rule of King Ahashverosh, Haman, the king's prime minister, plots to exterminate all of the Jews of Persia. His plan is foiled by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who ultimately save the Jews of Persia from destruction. The reading of the megillah typically is a rowdy affair, punctuated by booing and noise-making when Haman's name is read aloud.

Around the world, Jews celebrate Purim with special foods, costumes, sweet gifts for friends, charity for the poor, and an dramatic re-interpretation of Esther's story. At Judea Reform, our Purim service takes the form of a parody performance of the story of Esther. We've mocked Haman and rallied for Esther ala Freddie Mercury and Queen, the Wizard of Oz, West Side Story, and Sesame Street, among other themes. And this year.... there's no telling. For more information about Purim, click here.

Fri, February 26 2021 14 Adar 5781