The holiday of Purim celebrates a reversal of fortune — the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia from persecution. Hillels from across the nation marked this boisterous holiday by chanting from Megillat Esther, making hamantaschen and performing spiels. Below are highlights from some of their celebrations:
Cornell University Hillel
To prepare for the holiday, Jewish students gathered at Cornell University Hillel to decorate masks with feathers and rhinestones. One explanation for the custom of wearing costumes on Purim is because Queen Esther concealed her identity.
Students dressed in costumes piled into Columbia University/Barnard College Hillel to hear Megillat Esther, fulfilling one of the four mitzvot Jewish people are commanded to do on Purim. The outbreak of the Coronavirus encouraged many Hillels, including Harvard University Hillel, University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Hillel, to also livestream their readings for students.
Stanford University Hillel
Sticky-handed students from Stanford University Hillel spent an evening in the kitchen making hamantaschen, tricornered cookies representing the hat worn by Haman. They stuffed the treats with poppy seed, apricot and chocolate fillings.
George Washington University Hillel
A group of female students gathered at George Washington University Hillel to participate in a women’s reading of Megillat Esther. Attendees blotted out the name of the evildoer Haman by waving ra’ashanim, or noisemakers.
New York University Hillel
Hillel students gathered at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University to fulfill matanot l’evyonim, a commandment to be charitable to the poor on Purim. They made 200 packages, containing items such as socks and combs, for shelters serving food insecure families, homeless people and domestic violence victims.
Drexel University Hillel
The Orthodox minyan group at Drexel University Hillel celebrated its first-ever megillah reading, performed with the Hillel’s new scroll. More than 10 students gathered before their morning classes on Monday to attend the program.
Ithaca College Hillel
To retell the story of Purim, Ithaca College Hillel organized a drag-centric spiel for Jewish students. The performance featured dragqueens Coraline Chardonnay and Tilia Cordata.