The William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History has 7,555 pages that mention Purim.

Purim begins next week at sundown on the 14th day of Adar or March 6. This is the most joyful and festive of holidays, a celebration of the survival of the Jewish people.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Alene and Graham Landau Archivist Chair

Purim commemorates the victory of Queen Esther and Mordechai in the 4th century B.C. over the evil Haman. They thwarted a plot by Haman, the royal vizier to the Persian king, to kill all the Jews in ancient Persia. Purim commemorates the survival of Jews and a victory over prejudice and antisemitism.

Those who celebrate the holiday wear costumes, make extensive use of noisemakers and, at the mention of Haman’s name, loudly boo and hiss. The Megillah of Esther is read. In addition, this is a time to send gifts of food to fellow Jews, give money to the poor and eat a festive meal, which usually includes numerous sweets.

The William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History has 7,555 pages that mention Purim. Perhaps the title of the song in the Feb. 27, 1953, JN says it all: “Purim Time is Fun.”

I might add that it is especially fun for kids.

One of the earliest articles that referenced Purim is “The Children’s Corner” in the March 2, 1923, Detroit Jewish Chronicle. The weekly column featured a “Purim Poem” and the story of “Moey’s Purim Gift.”

The JN has done its part over the past 81 years to help readers celebrate Purim. For several years, writer Elizabeth Applebaum published “Purim at a Glance.” See March 1, 2007, and the March 20, 2008, issues of the JN for examples of this guide to the holiday.

Would you like to construct a few crafts with your kids for the occasion? See Lynne Konstantin’s “D-I-Y Purim” article for how to create Grand Graggers or make a Mishloach Manot container that is shaped like a large hamantash and, as a centerpiece for your table, holds a hamantash or lots of candy. Certainly, this is a “two-fer” craft for children. Fun to make with something sweet to eat!

Elizabeth King | Detroit Jewish News

The most joyful JN articles about Purim are event reports, especially those with photos. For example, see “Group Effort” about the “Purim-package assembly line” that youth from Congregation Beth Shalom devised to put Purim food packages together (March 21, 2003). “Haman Wasn’t Invited” reports on the Great Purim Parcel Project sponsored by the Jewish Experiences of For Families, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation’s Young Adult Division and the JN (Feb. 25, 1994). “Clowning Around” is a good photographic piece about Beth Achim’s Purim Carnival (March 31, 1989).

The moral of the stories from pages of the Davidson Archive is — Purim is indeed fun!

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at

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