At face value, the story of Esther, the centerpiece of the Purim holiday, is no laughing matter. There is trauma or the threat of trauma on just about every scale you can imagine. Far from being a funny story to tuck children up with, at a closer reveal, the tale intricately describes scenes of immense loss, heartbreak, violence and death. Hardly a rip-roaring comedy then.
And yet, for centuries, this is exactly what has happened when the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, is unfurled: Children appear in fancy dress, the atmosphere is carnival-esque, feasting, drinking and merriment abound. Why?
In our learning together, we will explore Jewish teachings about how especially at this time, when the world’s traumas can destroy happiness—and lead to deep sorrow, confusion, and fear, the response from the tradition is precisely to laugh and celebrate together.
Laughter can give power back to those who experience the trauma. It can allow them to say to their trauma: ‘You don’t get to oppress me, you don’t get to destroy me; I am still alive, I can still laugh…”
Please register here. We hope to see you there!
Beth Huppin (Jewish Family Service)
& Rabbi Samuel Klein (Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle), featuring musical artist Chava Mirel
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