Theresa Villiers, Member of Parliament for the Chipping Barnet constituency has issued the following Purim message:
“To all the Jewish community in Barnet and around the world I would like to wish you all Chag Purim Sameach at this special time of the year. I know many people will be saddened that the normal festivities will be muted by the continuing Covid lockdown. I do hope that people will be able to mark Purim with their families in a safe and Covid compliant way.
Purim reminds us of the inspirational message of hope and courage contained in the biblical story of Esther. Through her brave actions, Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from extermination at the hands of Haman. We should take heart from the Book of Esther, which shows that even at difficult times, individual acts of kindness and compassion can have a positive effect on the wider community. Happy Purim!”
The festival of Purim is one of the happiest and most colourful days of the Jewish calendar as members of the community come together to celebrate salvation from near destruction in ancient Persia about 2,300 years ago. Haman, the chief adviser to the Persian King, had planned that Jewish people should be murdered, with the date for the killings to be determined by the casting of lots, but Queen Esther's intervention prevented this.
Purim is normally marked by dressing in costumes and fancy dress, parties and carnivals, public readings of from the Book of Esther, and the eating of special triangular shaped pastries called Hamantaschen.