Purim is celebrated by the reading of the Scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillat Esther, which relates the basic story of Purim. Under the rule of King Ahashuerus, 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 the land from destruction. The reading of the megillah is typically a rowdy affair, punctuated by booing and noise-making when Haman’s name is read aloud.
A Purim Spiel meaning a Purim play—shpil means ‘game’ or ‘(stage) play’ in Yiddish.
A Purim Spiel is usually a comic dramatization, as a traditional type of Jewish play, or informal theatrical production, with participants wearing costumes that depict the characters in the story in the Book of Esther, the central text and narrative that describes what transpired on Purim and why it has become an important Jewish holiday.
At Temple B’nai Torah, we are fortunate to have many talented congregants who write and perform in our annual Purim Spiel.