Maybe it’s because the news has been so heartbreaking lately, but Jewish teens at CTeen chapters around the USA are looking to make their Purim as meaningful as it is fun.
”Our teens are not content with just partying; they want a challenge,” observed Rabbi Tzvi Rimler who leads Chabad of the East Valley’s CTeen chapter, based in Chandler, Arizona. “In light of all that’s going on across the world, we thought that working together on one big masterpiece would be a really unifying activity.”
The teens will meet on February 27 at the Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Chandler to mix around a dozen eggs and approximately four pounds of flour into a giant Purim cookie which will be filled with a few jars of jam.
After being mixed and rolled, the three cornered, jam filled cookie, traditionally eaten on Purim to resemble the hat, pockets or ears of Haman, the Purim story villain, will be carefully transported to La Bella, a kosher pizzeria and restaurant in Phoenix where it will bake for an hour and a half.
“A regular hamantash cooks for about 20 minutes on a sheet with 30 other hamantash,” says Erin Wilkens, a board member for the Chandler Jewish Preschool, which shares space with Chabad. Erin will be in charge of the technical aspects of the hamantash’s preparation and baking.
The hamantash will be served at Chabad’s ‘Purim in India’ Purim party on March 1st.
In New Jersey, Western Monmouth County’s chapter, led by Rabbi Shmuly and Moushkie Volovik held a CTeen Pre-Purim event at The Brookside Assisted Living, the local Senior Center. As part of their ‘Linking Hearts’ program teens meet monthly with their ‘buddies’ at the center, the teens gave the seniors an early start on the Purim festival, shaping hamantashen and retelling the Purim story as they bonded with the seniors.
“This is a program that benefits everyone, and is a favorite with the teens” says Moushkie. “Most of the Seniors are usually in bed by seven, but when Linking Hearts is on the program, they wait up especially for this.” Residents, some of whom have survived the Holocaust get to share their life experience with the teens who are willing listeners, and the teens get to experience the joy of giving back and gain from the wisdom of their senior friends.
Over on the West Coast in Bellevue, Washington the community is invited to the East Side Torah Center for a Purim party prepared by Cteen volunteers who have designed booths, shopped for supplies and will be involved in all aspects of setting up and running the Purim Carnival. They also delivered 100 hamantashen packages to Seniors last week.
Rebbitzen Chaya Elishevitz and her husband Sholom Ber run the chapter. Chaya says, “We meet with the teens once a week for a Shabbat dinner, fun program or class, but when it comes to Jewish holidays we like to focus on the community. It’s an opportunity for the teens to give back to the community.”