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What’s Happening this Purim!


Holyoke – Hamentaschen baking at Sons of Zion, 6:30 p.m., 378 Maple St., (413) 534-3369 or office@sonsofzionholyoke.org.



Amherst – Purim-Spiel: The Whole Megillah; feature the Grumbling Gryphons and live klezmer music, 10 a.m., Jewish Community of Amherst, 742 Main St., (413) 256-0160.

Holyoke – Purim the Musical! at Congregation Sons of Zion, play starts at noon and will be followed by a light lunch, 378 Maple St., (413) 534-3369.



Amherst – Chabad Nation’s “Glow in the Dark Purim Party” with the traditional reading of the megillah, hamantashen, snacks, and mocktails; wear a costume, put on your glow paint and jewelry, grab your glow stick; enter Best Costume contest; music by DJ Bobby; 8 p.m., at Amherst College’s Powerhouse, 10 East Drive, info: Rabbishmuel@chabadnation.com. Admission FREE for students of the Five Colleges.

Greenfield – Temple Israel Purim Carnival and Meal, with meal, songs, interactive games, stories for children, and costume parade, followed by a Megillah reading and Purim Shpiel; costumes encouraged, 5:30 p.m., 27 Pierce St., (413) 773-5884.

Holyoke – Purim services with reading of megillah, Purim Seudah by Sylvia Edery; come in costume, Rodphey Sholom, 1800 Northampton St., (413) 534-5262.

Longmeadow – Purim fun at LYA, megillah reading at 6:10 p.m., followed by light dinner; Maggie the Clown performance at 7 p.m. followed balloon designs for all children, 1148 Converse St., (413) 567-8665. FREE

Northampton – Purim Dinner Theater, a puppet show at Congregation B’nai Israel with Felicia Sloin, Amy Meltzer and Kate Holdsworth; games, crafts, puppet show and dinner, followed by megillah reading with the congregation, 5:15 p.m., 253 Prospect St. $5/suggested donation; $15/per family

Springfield – Community Purim Celebration at Temple Beth El, with evening service at 6:15 p.m., followed by megillah reading at 6:30 p.m. and the Community Purim Celebration at 7:45 p.m.; the theme is “Bedtime,” so come dressed in your favorite pajamas or as a storybook character or stuffed animal, 979 Dickinson St., (413) 733-4149.

Springfield – “Purim…The Final Frontier,” at Sinai Temple, with a FREE dinner featuring pizza from Red Rose, songs and silliness from the Sinai Temple Religious School students and “Shir Fun!” megillah reading and Purim spiel; costumes (traditional Purim or “Outer Space” themed) are encouraged but not required, 6-8 p.m., 1100 Dickinson St., Please RSVP for dinner: (413) 736-3619.

Springfield – Community Purim Celebration with Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple and Congregation B’nai Torah with the theme of “Bedtime,” 6:15 p.m., come in favorite pajamas, or as storybook character or stuffed animal, at TBE, 979 Dickinson St., (413) 733-4149.

Worcester – Purim at Congregation Beth Israel; face painting and crafts at 5:30 p.m., light supper at 6:15 p.m., and Megillah reading at 6:45 p.m., Purim raffle tickets: $100 each (sold in advance), 15 Jamesway Drive, (508) 756-6204.



Longmeadow – LYA megillah reading at the school, 9 a.m.; Come with your noise makers and help stamp out Haman’s name; LYA Student Council will host a Purim carnival at 10:15 a.m., 1148 Converse St., (413) 567-8665. FREE

Longmeadow – LYA Presents Purim in a Stadium, with stadium buffet dinner at 5:15 p.m.; come dressed in costume and join the Purim Masquerade Contest with prizes for participants; enjoy a Purim performance by the LYA rabbis and be prepared to dance to live music, 1148 Converse St., Reservations: (413) 567-8665 or your check; $12/adults; $6/child; $36/family rate.

Longmeadow – Purim Celebration at Congregation B’nai Torah, with Purim meal (Meat Taco Bar), megillah reading, and activities for children, 5 p.m., 2 Eunice Drive, (413) 567-0036; Dinner: $5/person; $18/family max.

Northampton – Lander Grinspoon Academy Purim Shpiel, written, produced and performed by 6th graders, 8:30 a.m, (413) 584-6622.



Florence – Purim Tot Shabbat & Tot Sha-Potluck, musical hour led by Marlene Rachelle and Rabbi Riqi welcoming the Sabbath for families with kids 0-6 years and their friends; bring a nut-free vegetarian dish to share, pizza is provided; 5:15 – 6:15 p.m., Beit Ahavah, 130 Pine St., (413) 587-3770 or info@beitahavah.org.



Worcester – Beth Israel USY Purim Lounge, 7 p.m., 15 Jamesway Drive, (508) 756-6204.



Springfield – “Cirque-Du-J Purim Carnival” at the Springfield JCC; Participants are encouraged to wear a circus-themed costume; activities include a bounce house, Fantastic Fritz, photo booth, face painting, rock wall, games; kosher food available for sale, 12 noon – 3 p.m., 1160 Dickinson St., (413) 739-4715. $5/per person; $20/per family.

Worcester – PJ Library & PJ Our Way Purim Celebration, “What’s Your Super Power?” create your own Superhero with comic book artist, Dov Smiley; play games with Young Emissaries; wear a costume and bring your favorite hamantaschen to share, 2:45 – 5 p.m., Worcester JCC Auditorium, sign-up: www.jfcm.org/superheroes. *FREE but $18 for artist rendering of child’s super hero creation; $12/every child thereafter.



A Merger that is Pure Zen


The Dalai Lama adjusts his kippah as he prepares for his interview for the job of permanent executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.

WESTERN MASS. – The Springfield Jewish community has always been at the forefront of collaboration as its organizations strive to work together to strengthen the community – the merging of three Orthodox shuls and two Conservative temples in the last ten years is proof of that.

Now, as the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. works on strategic planning and community leaders “reimagine, rebrand, and remarket” Jewish education in the area, a new partnership has formed with the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts – and with the Buddhists.

The two Jewish Federations have announced that they will both merge with newly formed Temple Beth Karma Shalom by March 1.

“Jubus” in both communities are rejoicing as they prepare to celebrate the upcoming Buddhist holiday of Magha Puja Day.

In the spirit of full cooperation – and so as not to duplicate holiday rituals — the Jewish holidays of both Chanukah and the upcoming Purim, will merge with Maghu Puja, which, according to beliefnet.com includes “community gatherings, gift giving, meditation, chanting, food, flowers, the reaffirmation of commitments to Buddha, and the lighting of oil lamps.”

The holiday will now be known locally as “Maganukah Purim.”

Already there have been some tense moments, as one of the tenets of the Buddhist holiday is “to abstain from distilled and fermented intoxicants, which are the occasion for carelessness.”

One local rabbi argued that the well-known tractate, “A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between ‘cursed be Haman’ and ‘blessed be Mordechai’” must be adhered to.

“It’s a mitzvah!” she declared.

Others are suggesting that on the new combined holiday, new members of the Jubu Federation should stand on their heads – in the yoga pose Sirasana — until they don’t know the difference between Buddha and Harold Grinspoon.




Chocolate Chip Cookie Hamantaschen

By Shannon Sharna
Reprinted from The Nosher, www.nosher.com

One of the fun parts about baking hamantaschen is, of course, getting fun and creative with the fillings.

But I love this recipe because it has a little fun with the dough itself, imitating one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes with both brown and white sugar and mini chocolate chips.


For the dough:

½ cup butter (or margarine), at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup mini chocolate chips


Filling suggestions:

Chocolate hazelnut spread
Dulce de leche
Cookie butter
Chocolate chips + mini marshmallows



Beat butter and sugars together until smooth. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dust your work surface with flour. Roll the dough to about ¼ – ½ inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out dough and place on cookie sheet. (You can also use a regular drinking glass or mason jar top).

Fill cookies with scant 1/2 tsp of chocolate hazelnut spread, dulce de leche, or a few chocolate chips + mini marshmallow in each round. Pinch circle into triangle.

Place cookies on baking sheet with and place baking sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes before baking. Bake for 8 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving.

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