Purim is a day when we don our masks and costumes and celebrate the victory of the ancient Persian Jewish community over the evil genocidal plans of Haman. While, on Purim, the party goers and celebrants will hide beneath their fanciful costumes, NCSY will be busy uncovering what lurks beneath the jovial facades as we reveal the living sparks of Jewish pride of our NCSYers. As we listen to the megilah, we will be reminded of how the Jews of Persia outsmarted the tyrannical Haman with the help of a concealed Divine hand. The Jewish people’s survival has never been an easy path, as each generation has had to deal with either an explicit genocidal threat, forced attempts at conversion, or, more subtly and insidious, a secular, modern society that is light years away from the values and practices of our Jewish heritage.
Our modern world has so much to offer our teens in terms of conveniences and freedom for which we should all be grateful. But for all modernity’s wonderful advantages, young Jews may, correspondingly, feel disengaged and disenchanted with their Jewish birthright. At NCSY, Purim is another opportunity for us to make the gift of Judaism relevant and attractive. We ensure that the covenantal relationship between the Jewish people and the Divine is not a relic of a bygone era; it is what animates our teens’ purpose and defines the values that will carry them through their modern and technological driven lives. Our teens want to live deeply satisfying Jewish lives marked by community affiliation, responsibility for others’ welfare, traditions, and mitzvot. They desire identity and purpose. So on Purim, as the masks and costumes are put on, NCSY will be presenting them with an alternative reality that is based on who they really are. Wishing our NCSYers and their families a wonderful Purim holiday!