From the Far East to Queen Cake: Purim in the South

There’s a wide range of Purim activities scheduled for the next couple of weeks in the region. In some areas, Purim is during Spring Break so the celebrations are shifted by a week.

Auburn’s Beth Shalom will have a British Invasion with “A Beatles Purim” on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. Rabbi Matt Dreffin of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life will lead the evening. Those attending are asked to bring non-perishable items or a check made out to the Food Bank of East Alabama.

Knesseth Israel in Birmingham will have a megillah reading on March 15 at 8 p.m., followed by champagne and fondue. On March 16, the homemade hamantaschen sale starts at 10 a.m., followed by the megillah reading at 11 a.m. and the Purim carnival at noon. There will be rides, face painting and a photo booth. Suggested donation is $45 per family, or $18 per adult and $10 for children under 10.

This year, the alternating Highland Avenue venue in Birmingham is Temple Beth-El. Temple Emanu-El will travel up the street for a joint Purim celebration. A Purim parade starts at 9:45 a.m., followed by the Purim carnival, a Sisterhood raffle and a canned food drive for Collat Jewish Family Services.

Beth-El will also have a megillah reading on March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Chabad of Alabama will have Purim in Candyland at its Birmingham facility. The March 16 event starts at 4:30 p.m. with a megillah reading, and a party at 5 p.m. Candyland character costumes are encouraged. Admission including the festive dinner is $18 per adult, $10 per child, $60 maximum per family. There will also be a “split the pot” drawing.

Temple Emanu-El in Dothan will have a Purim potluck on March 14 at 6 p.m. The service will start at 7 p.m. Congregants are encouraged to wear their craziest costumes.

A lot of congregations have a Purim play the evening of the megillah reading. Not Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville — the congregation is going all-out with three performances of “Chicago: The Megillah.” The musical will take the stage on March 6, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., and will include such tunes as “All that Spiel,” “Mister Mordecai” and “Razzle Dazzle.” Tickets are $10 and can be reserved from the B’nai Sholom office.

The actual Purim service will be at B’nai Sholom on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. “Kings, Queens and Jellybeans” will include a costume contest, food, drinks and sweets. A $10 donation per family is suggested.

Etz Chayim in Huntsville will have its Purim hot dog supper on March 15 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a zany hat contest and the megillah reading. There will be two age groups for the contest, above and below age 13.

Ahavas Chesed, Mobile, will have its megillah reading and pizza on March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile celebrates with “Esti,” a takeoff on “Annie,” March 14 at 6 p.m. A Purim dinner will follow.

Chabad will be on hand to help community members in Mobile celebrate Purim. Rabbi Yosef Goldwasser will “bring Purim” to those who are stuck at home, at work or in the hospital. Goldwasser will deliver Mishloach manot, read the megillah in someone’s home, office or hospital room, and bring “holiday spirit and literature to your home.” He can be reached by emailing here or calling (251) 265-1213.

Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery will have a megillah reading and spaghetti dinner on March 15 at 6:45 p.m.

The megillah reading at Temple Beth Or in Montgomery will be on March 15 at 7 p.m. There will be a parade of costumes, adults and children.

Temple Emanu-El, Tuscaloosa will have a Purim Spiel and party, March 16 at 10 a.m.

The Pensacola Jewish Federation is holding a community Purim carnival on March 9 at the Creative Learning Academy, involving both local congregations. The carnival begins at 12:30 p.m.

On March 15, Temple Beth El in Pensacola will have a megillah reading and wine tasting celebration at 5:30 p.m. There will be a covered dish appetizer reception, and while the adults sample wines, there will be a hamantaschen ice cream sundae bar for children. The evening will also include the premiere of Purim Movie, starring the students in the School for Jewish Living.

The central/Southwestern Louisiana three-congregation Purim celebration will be at Temple Shalom in Lafayette on March 16. Temple Sinai in Lake Charles and Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria will arrive at 9:30 a.m. for the celebration, which will be followed by lunch at noon.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have its Second Annual Pasta Purim Celebration on March 14. The service will be at 6 p.m., followed by the pasta banquet at 7 p.m.

On March 16, Beth Shalom holds its morning service, megillah reading and spiel at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck lunch at 11:30 a.m. At 12:15 p.m., religious school families and congregation volunteers deliver Shalach Manot to members.

B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge is taking note of Purim’s proximity to Mardi Gras, with “Women Protest for Reform in the Palace: Why is it called King Cake? Long Live The Queen!” Starting at 7:02 p.m. on March 15 there will be a Queen Cake Beauty Contest. Congregants should bring a decorated cake or hamantaschen with a placard describing the theme. Prizes for the most creative, yummiest, most politically (in)correct and best placard. There will be a dramatic megillah reading, costume contest and comedy films for adults and children. Soft drinks and popcorn provided, and it is BYOB for adult beverages.

B’nai Israel
in Monroe will have a Purim Celebration in Word and Song on March 15 at 7:30 p.m., with Cantor Jerry Berkowitz. The next morning, there will be a religious school Purim party.

The Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will have a Purim Celebration for All Ages on March 16. At 9:30 a.m. there will be a discussion for adults about little-known aspects of the Purim story. The megillah reading will start at 10:30 a.m., with prizes for best costume and noisemaker.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans is holding a Purim family dinner on March 14.

Touro Synagogue
will hold an adults-only Purim party, ages 21 and up. The March 15 event starts at 8 p.m. in the Grant Meyer Garden Pavilion, and is free for members, $10 for non-members. Alcohol is included.

For the entire family, Touro Synagogue will have “The Megillah According to Walt Disney” on March 16 at 10 a.m. Disney costumes are encouraged.

After great reviews last year, Anshe Sfard in New Orleans is doing a Chinese dinner for Purim. The megillah reading begins at 8:15 p.m. on March 15, followed by a party with a Klezmer brass band, led by trumpeter Caitie Rodgers. The next day’s megillah reading will be around 9:30 a.m., following the 9 a.m. service.

On March 15, Shir Chadash and Beth Israel in Metairie will have a joint Purim celebration at Shir Chadash. After Havdalah at 8:15 p.m., there will be a megillah reading with “Voices” by Ilan Caplan, and a performance by the Panorama Jazz Band. Costumes are encouraged and there will be children’s activities. A collection will also be taken for the poor in Israel.

On March 16 at 8:30 a.m., Beth Israel will have a South of the Border Purim. Bring maracas to drown out Haman’s name during the megillah reading. Brunch will include build-your-own breakfast burritos and dulce de leche hamantaschen. There will be a Purim class with Yehuda Halper, and games for the children, including a piñata. Suggested donation is $10 or $30 per family, and reservations are requested.

Shir Chadash will have its March 16 megillah reading at 9 a.m.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will go Bonco for Purim with “The Real Housewives of Shushan.” The March 15 adults-only event starts at 6 p.m. and is an evening of “food, booze, gambling, satire, story and song.” Costumes are optional but encouraged. Reservations are requested by March 11, and there is a suggested donation of $10.

On March 16, Gates of Prayer will have its Purim Yeladim at 10:45 a.m., a Magical Purim with Michael Dardant.

The New Orleans Adloyadah Community Purim Event will be at the Uptown Jewish Community Center on March 16 from noon to 4 p.m. The carnival will include food, rides, game booths, prizes, arts and crafts, and much more. Children are invited to come dressed in costume. Admission is free and open to the community. The mechanical bull ride is back, and it will be the debut of the inflatable Gaga pit. There will be Middle Eastern cuisine, New York-style deli items, snowballs, popcorn, and homemade Hamantaschen baked by the Young Women of Hadassah, using the traditional recipe of the New American Social Club. An all-day ride and game pass for children is $12 or $10 with a donation of non-perishable food items for Second Harvest.

Jewish Community Day School
in Metairie will have a Very Disney Purim, a Disney Musical-inspired story of Purim in costume and song. Adult volunteers are currently rehearsing, and the performance will be March 14 at 2 p.m.

The Chabad of Louisiana Grand Purim Feast travels to the Far East this year. The program includes a gourmet buffet dinner of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes, a sushi bar, Mai Tai L’Chayims, hamantaschen and firtune cookies. Live music will be by Yaron Hanoka and Steve Schwab of the Kol Dodi band. The celebration will be at Chabad in Metairie on March 16 at 5 p.m.

Chabad Uptown will have a Purim party on March 15 at 8:45 p.m., featuring a multi-media megillah reading, Havdalah, a Zydeco Jewish music experience and a children’s program.

Agudath Achim in Shreveport will have Purim covered dish dinner on March 15 at 6:15 p.m. Dairy or Pareve dishes are requested.

Shreveport’s B’nai Zion will have its Purim Parody service on March 14 at 6 p.m.

The Shreveport community Purim carnival, sponsored by the North Louisiana Jewish Federation, will be on March 16 at B’nai Zion, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Beth Israel, Gulfport, will have a Purim carnival and costume contest starting at 10 a.m. on March 16, followed by lunch and a megillah reading.

B’nai Israel in Hattiesburg will have its Purim party on March 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Beth Israel
in Jackson will have a Classic Rock Purim on March 22 at 7 p.m. The Beth Israel Temple Youth Purim Carnival will be on March 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. An unlimited activity wristband is $10.