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March 14, 2001     Beverly Hills Weekly
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Have Yourself A Places to go on the Web to,learn about the Jewish festival of Purim By Michael Tanenbaum This Thursday night and Friday is the Jewish festival of Purim. Purim is general- ly regarded as a light-hearted, festive day filled with prizes, noisemakers, costumes and treats. Children as well as grown men and women dress up as their favorite heroes and vil}ains, eat hamentaschen and read the Megillah of Esther. Naturally, the web holds a vast amount of educatienal as well as fun resources related to this joyous holi- day. There is a serious side to this day as well, and much discussion about Purim and interpretations of its meaning can be found on various excellent websites around the world. The story of Purim took place about 2,000 years ago. It tells of a plan by the arch villain Haman, chief lieutenant of Persian King Ahashverosh, to annihilate the Jews of Persia. Through an amazing twist of events, Esther the Jewish new Queen and her adoptive father Mordechai manage to intercede with the king to thwart Haman's pernicious plan to eradicate all the Jews in the empire. They destroy Haman, his family and their evil Cohorts, and pro- claim the feast of Purim in honor of the vic- tory. Among the wealth of Purim-related resources available on the web is Torah.org (w ww.torah.org/learning/yomtov/purim/). At Torah.org, you can review the basic con- cepts and laws of Purim such as the obliga- tion of every man, woman and child to hear, out loud, the Megillah reading of the Purim story; to eat a Seudah (a sumptuous and intoxicating least); and to send Mishloach Manot (gift baskets of food and treats) to at least two poor people, as well as family and friends. In addition to its sec- tion on laws and customs, "Ik)rah.org also has an extensive selection of expert-written Divrei Torah, or commentaries through which people share their learning and insights on Jewish themes. For those who want to delve deeper into the philosophical and religious impliChtions of Purina, the Divrei Torah are organized into sections for beginning, intermediate and advanced stu- dents. Similarly, at 613.org (www.613.org/ purim.html), you can listen to recorded seminars of rabbis and instructors from around the world speaking about Purim and Purim-related topics. Most of the sound files are in streaming RealAudio format. This site claims to have the biggest audio archive of Jewish Classes about Purim (and the other Jewish holidays) on the Internet. Virtual Jerusalem is another invaluable online resource. At www.vjholidays.com/purim, you can explore some of the more exotic customs of Purim, including the commandment to feast and drink alcohol. Another colorful tradition of the holiday, particularly for kids, is the "Purim shpiel." These are skits that serve on one level to communicate moral messages from the Megillah, not unlike Medieval passion plays, and on another level to satirize current'evcnts and community affairs. In addition to customs, Virtual Jerusalem also has Purim-related interactive online games,, quizzes and a chat room. Finally, the Educator's Guide has suggestions for Purim-related student activities, projects, debates and writing themes both inside and *)utside the class- room. There are also websites that cater (pun intended!) to peoples' appetite for hamen- taschen, the tasty and symbolic fruit-filled treats for which Pufim is well-known; as well as other symbolic, ethnic Purim deli- cacies from such places as Ethiopia, ~Israel and Persia. In addition to Virtual Jerusalem's own delectable Purim recipes archive(www.vjholidays.com/purim/recipe s.htm), the recipe archives at Mimi's Cyber Kitchen (www.cyber-kitchen.com/holi- days/purim/recipes.htm) contain dozens of Purim foods. These recipes are linked to an even vaster listing of Jewish recipes for all occasions culled from the archives of the "rec. food.cuisine.jewish" newsgroup. Purim is, alter all, a very food-oriented hob i;.tay, and the right combination of foods can really make the Purim feast a joyous event. '" Finally, if you still have questions, at AskMoses.com you can submit Jewish- themed questions to a live staff of rabbis and Judaism experts from around the world and they ~ill post the answers on the site. Or, you could search for a theme by key- word using the search engine. For example, asking the question, "What is Purim?" ' brings up a detailed entry discussing the historical context of the holiday, its cus- toms, meaning and significance to us today. You can find out that Purim is one of the "two Jewish holidays, along with Chanukah, enacted by the Rabbis rather than recorded in the Torah. AskMoses, designed entirely in the Flash animation format, features a lively interface complete with sound effects and a hip-looking Moses with staff in hand, beard blowing in the wind. Michael Tanenbaum is the technical director of Clockwork Websites, LLC. He can be reached at michael@clockworkwebsites.com. 8 Beverly Hills Weekly You Have Questions We Have Answers, The TRUTH About Your Mate F R TWO introduction service for professionals LET US INTRODUCE YOU TO RESERVATION FOR TWO INTRODUCING SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DATE BY DATEI THERE'S SOMEONE YOU HAVE TO MEET! and much more if you can handle It... Call Toll Free / ............... " The Professional Solution for your business or companyl You must have a website working on the Internet! ..... Your website must successfully draw traffic=. Professional Design and Technical Performance is essential! Clockwork Websites, LLC provides graphic design, technical direction and project management. We employ a team of professionals who will give you and your company the highest value for your dollar. \ Contact Us Today.= info@clockworkwebsites.com 3] 0.576.51 O0 CLOCKWORK WEBSITES, LLC Is a division of CLOCKWORK INTERACTIVE. ". ff ---- Ag