Friday, March 25, 2011

MGH celebrates Purim with joy and merrymaking

PURIM TRADITION: Guests at the MGH Chapel celebrate Purim.

MGH EMPLOYEES and guests filled the MGH Chapel on March 21 to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim. Rev. Thomas Mahoney greeted attendees as he read a prayer from the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther.Although the Scroll is an ancient tale of intrigue, ruthlessness, genocide and deliverance in ancient Persia, Purim is the merriest holiday of the Jewish year because it celebrates the saving of the Jewish people.

Even in the darkest of moments, the celebration of Purim is meant to inspire and evoke silliness. Celebrants wore colorful hats, head accessories, flower necklaces and held noisemakers. They also followed the tradition of reading chapters from the Scroll of Esther. Noisemakers were put to use when guests actively and audibly protested Haman, the villain of the story, every time his name was mentioned.

“This celebration is one of the many ways our interfaith chaplaincy invites the MGH community to learn about, witness or participate in the traditions of all of our faith communities,” says Rabbi Ben Lanckton, who could not attend this year, but plans and leads the annual Purim celebration at the MGH.

The joyous event concluded with a reading of selected community prayers, many of which expressed concern for patients and victims of the earthquake in Japan and hope for world peace. After the ceremony, guests gathered outside of the chapel and enjoyed fresh hamantaschen, a traditional Jewish pastry.

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