Purim Traditions You've Never Heard Of
by Elisheva Blumberg
The four mitzvot of Purim — reading the Megillah, eating a seuda, sending mishloach
manot, and giving charity to the poor — have been preserved by Jews across the globe
And yet, despite us all keeping the same holiday, there are some striking differences in
the way Purim has been — and still is — celebrated across time periods, cultures, and
even individual synagogues. Have you ever heard of any of these unique Purim
A far cry from the modern-day themed mishloach manot, Jews around the
world have developed their own customs in fulfilling this mitzvah.
Yerushalmi brides sent their grooms enormous and elaborate
mishloach manot platters with cakes, cookies, and candy.
The reverse was true in Persia, where grooms sent their brides
mishloach manot with sweets like halva and pastries.
In the 1930s, women of the Rhodian Jewish community in Seattle used to
send their friends silver trays of pastries, candy, even Hershey’s Kisses!
Moroccan Jews sent each other gifts, including jewelry and perfumes.
Beyond the Hamantasch
Eaten at the Purim tables of Russian, Polish, and other
European Jews, koilitch are long challah loaves made
sweet with raisins or candy. The twisted ropes are meant
to evoke Haman’s ultimate demise.
Moroccan Jews baked challahs called Ojos de Haman
(Haman’s eyes) which included almonds and two
unpeeled hard-boiled eggs.
Rhodian Jews prepared folares; each pastry comprised a hard-boiled egg (to
represent Haman’s head) wrapped in a cage of challah dough.
Another Sephardic twist on eating the likeness of Haman are Haman’s fingers,
cinnamon-and-sugar sweetened phyllo pastries rolled up into finger-like shapes.
From Bulgaria, another spin on Haman-inspired foods: Caveos di Aman (Haman’s
Hair) is a dish made of stringy pasta to represent the Purim villain’s hair. The
recipe includes olives and hard-boiled eggs, both traditional foods of mourning.
More Purim Food Fare
Eastern European Jews baked floral-shaped challahs
to recall the song “Shoshanat Yaakov,” (The Rose of
Jacob), which is sung after the Megillah reading.
To commemorate Queen Esther’s exclusively
vegetarian (and therefore kosher) diet in the palace,
many Purim dishes include a variety of nuts, seeds,
A North African Purim appetizer features couscous with raisins.
Tunisians serve fava beans with hard boiled eggs.
European Jews enjoy noodles sprinkled with poppy seeds.
When we hear the name of “Haman” read aloud, our local shuls may be filled with the
sounds of graggers, but there are many methods Jews around the world have used to
make noise — or not — during Megillah reading.
The original graggers were stones!
French children wrote “Haman” on a
pair of rocks, and smashed them
together when the villain’s name was
German Jews would beat the walls of
the synagogue upon hearing the name
In a Sephardic synagogue in London,
congregants would write the name of
Haman on a paper and erase it when
his name was read.
Although we have come to expect a raucous outburst each time Haman’s name is recited
in the Megillah, this noise-making custom is not followed everywhere.
In fact, many authorities throughout Jewish history have staunchly opposed the practice,
asserting that it disrupts the Megillah reading, is not appropriate conduct for a
synagogue, and, in certain times of Jewish history, that it would sound to outsiders like
the Jews were planning a rebellion.
In 1783 the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue of London announced that anyone
who disturbed the Megillah reading would be forced to leave shul.17
In 1886, a synagogue in Poland prohibited the use of graggers on Purim.18
Many other Sephardic communities around the world prohibit, or strictly limit, the
noise-making activities in shul, including the Yemenite and Kurdish communities.19
Though we don’t often see it nowadays, one ancient custom involves creating a Haman
effigy and subsequently destroying it.
Jews of Babylon and Elam would
display a Haman effigy on their
roofs, and on Purim, would throw it
into a bonfire while jumping
through the fire themselves.
In the 1800’, Yemenite boys hung up
a Haman puppet and threw stones
and arrows at it.
Girls in Kurdistan burned Zeresh
and Vashti dolls.
Jews of Bukhara, Uzbekistan built
a Haman out of snow. They would
light a fire and sing, watching the
snowy villain melt into nothingness.
DIRECTIONS for playing: As the player determines which picture fits into the appropriate space, they cut the symbol and glues it
into that space. Play continues until all the Purim symbols are glued into the appropriate spaces - six different symbols in each
box, each row, and each column.
Designed by: Teacher Center, Jewish Education Center of Cleveland
Purim Breakout Room
The Purim party is starting in 30 minutes! Breakout in time to attend the festivities.
Click here to enter start your breakout:
Or scan to play:
Designed by: Teacher Center, Jewish Education Center of Cleveland
Story in 4
by Amy Kritzer
● ¾ cup granulated sugar
● 1 stick 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
● 1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
● Zest from 1 orange
● 2 tablespoons Manischewitz
● 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
● 1 teaspoon baking powder
● ½ teaspoon salt
2 cups Manischewitz
1 block 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With a mixer, blend sugar and butter together until light and
fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg, orange zest, and
Manischewitz. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix by
hand until the ingredients are just combined and the dough is
a uniform color. Dough will be slightly sticky.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it in the
Filling: Pour 2 cups Manischewitz in a small saucepan and
simmer over medium high heat until it reduces down to
about ¼ cup, about 10 minutes. Let cool, syrup will thicken
as it cools.
1. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, powdered
sugar and 1 tablespoon Manischewitz syrup with a hand
mixer or spoon until combined. The filling should be thick. If
it is dry, add a little more syrup.
2. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thin on a very lightly floured
surface and cut into circles using a 3 or 3 1/2-inch cookie
cutter. Add a heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of
each hamantaschen. Fold in 3 corners to form a triangle and
overlap the edges to seal. Don’t overstuff, or your
hamantaschen may leak.
3. Place hamantaschen on a parchment lined cookie sheet and
freeze for 30 minutes to help seal the cookie so it won’t leak.
Whisk the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and
brush over hamantaschen.
4. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned on bottom. Cool,
and drizzle with remaining Manischewitz syrup.
by Anita Schecter
Honey Date Hamantaschen
Prep:30 mins/Cook:15 mins/Chill
For the Cookies:
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey date filling (recipe follows)
12 dates (pitted)
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
1. Add the egg and butter to a large bowl and cream
together using a mixer.
2. Beat in sugar, orange zest, & orange juice.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking
powder, and salt.
4. Fold dry ingredients into the wet, turn out onto a
floured surface to form a dough ball, wrap in
plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour+.
1. Add the dates to a bowl with the hot water and
let soak for 30 minutes.
2. Add the soaked dates and about 1/4 cup of the
water to a food processor with honey and salt.
Puree until completely smooth.
3. Roll the dough out to between 1/8- to 1/4-inch
thick. Use a 3 1/2-inch round cutter to cut circles
out of the dough.
4. Place about a teaspoon of honey date filling in
the center of each dough round and fold into the
classic triangular shape.
5. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment
paper and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
CARAMELIZED ONION HAMANTASCHEN by Amy Kritzer
● 1 medium red onion cut into thin slices
● 1 tablespoon olive oil
● 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
● 1 tablespoon honey
● 1 cup grape tomatoes cut into eighths
● 1 tablespoon thyme minced
● 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
● 3 ounces goat cheese
For dough: (or buy pizza dough)
● 1 cup all-purpose flour
● 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
● 1 envelope pizza yeast
● 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
● 3/4 teaspoon salt
● 2/3 cup warm water (120 degrees)
● 1 tablespoon thyme minced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and
sprinkled with cornmeal.
Onions: Slice onions into thin slices and add them and 1 teaspoon salt to a large
saucepan with 1 tbsp oil. Cook slow and low for 10 minutes until the onions start to
wilt, stirring occasionally.
Dough: Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with yeast, sugar and salt.
Add the water and knead for one minute. Gradually add 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
and thyme. Knead until you have a smooth ball (3-4 minutes.) Add more flour if
Onions: Your onions should now be soft. Add honey (and a little more olive oil if the onions are sticking.) Sweat onions for 5
more minutes. Then add tomatoes, thyme, red chili pepper flakes and more salt to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes until the
tomatoes start to cook and the onions are cooked down. Cook away any moisture from the tomatoes so your hamantaschen are
While your mixture is cooling a bit, roll out the dough very thin- about an 1/8 of an inch. Cut the dough into rounds using a 2 or
3 inch circle cutter. Put 1 ½ teaspoons filling in the middle of each circle.
Fold up the sides to form a triangle, making sure to securely pinch the ends closed.
Bake 5 minutes. Sprinkle on goat cheese and bake for another 5-7 minutes.
Garlic Bread Hamantaschen by Melinda Strauss
Garlic Bread Filling:
● 1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
● 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
● 4 cloves minced garlic
● 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
● 1 egg yolk
Dough: (or buy pizza dough)
● 3/4 cup warm water
● 1/2 Tbsp (1 packet) instant yeast
● 1/2 Tbsp sugar
● 1 1/2 – 2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast and sugar then pour the warm water over the top. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate the
yeast. Add in the flour, starting with 1 1/2 cups, and salt and mix by hand. Knead 3-5 minutes. The dough should be soft and a bit
sticky. Set dough aside for 10 minutes.
Make filling: mix butter, parmesan, garlic, and parsley
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured counter to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter or top of a drinking glass.
Fill each piece of dough with 1 tsp of the butter mixture, brush the edges with egg yolk, and pinch the corners to create a triangle.
Melt remaining filling and brush on the tops and edges of the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
SAVORY BEEF HAMANTASCHEN
By Emily Paster
2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 TB warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tsp dried mint
1 tsp each allspice, cinnamon, paprika
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup each pine nuts, golden raisins
Optional Yogurt sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of two lemons
2 cups non-dairy yogurt
2 tsp dried mint
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Prepare the dough: if using active dry yeast, dissolve the yeast with a
pinch of sugar in 1/2 cup warm water and leave for ten minutes until
froths. (If using instant yeast, skip this step and mix instant yeast
directly in with the flour.)
2. Combine flour, salt, oil, egg. Add yeast mixture. Mix with a fork and
work in remaining water as needed for dough to hold together.
3. Knead 5-10 min until dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Put dough in well-oiled bowl, cover, set aside in a warm place to rise
until doubled, about an hour.
5. While dough is rising, make the filling. Heat olive oil over medium
heat in a large saucepan.
6. Saute the onion until softened, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Add the ground beef and spices and cook, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink.
8. Add the pine nuts and raisins saute a few additional minutes until the pine nuts are toasted. Taste and add salt and
pepper if needed. Set aside.
9. When dough is risen, punch down and divide into four pieces. Keeping other pieces covered, take one piece and roll it
out on a lightly floured board as thinly as possible.
10. Cut dough into 4-inch rounds. You should have 6-7 rounds of dough.
11. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each round.
12. Using two hands, fold in two sides of the circle and pinch together. Fold up the bottom side of the triangle and pinch all
three corners together. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
13. Place filled pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
14. Beat egg with one tablespoon of water. Brush pastries with egg wash.
15. Bake pastries for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
16. While pastries are baking, make “yogurt” sauce. Combine minced garlic, lemon juice and salt and allow to stand for
five minutes to soften raw garlic flavor.
17. Combine garlic mix with “yogurt” and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Leftover pastries can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat or toast before serving. Pastries can also be wrapped
well and frozen. Thaw and reheat before serving.
The All-in-One: Sweet & Savory
PURIM PITA HAMANTASCHEN 4 WAYS by Jamie Geller
Prep: 15 mins Cook:15 mins Total: 30 min
Preheat the oven to 375℉.
Cut each pita into quarters.
Carefully cut out a small triangle in the center of each pita
quarter (as pictured.)
Place a small amount of the ingredients for the version of
pita-taschen that you want to make. Don't overstuff them, or
things could get messy.
Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until
perfectly golden and crispy.
Allow to cool, garnish, and serve. Enjoy!
Mini mozzarella balls
Natural smooth peanut
MAKE A MINI PURIM
By Sara Rivka creativejewishmom.com
You'll Need: colored card stock, black markers in various widths, scissors, mini wooden
clothespins, pom pom yarn, or any yarn or string for hanging
How To: Get kids to make sketches of ideas on scrap paper before drawing on colored
card stock. Draw with pencil first. Then go over pencil with black marker, or for those who
are more confident, dive right in with the black marker. Cut out items, and hang them on
your yarn clothesline. Ta Da, an adorable Purim decoration for your wall has been made!
Using Your Hands
by Purim Handprint Crafts
Paper Folding Hamentashen
So simple to make...use
a small plate to trace a
circle on some tan
After cutting out the
circle, fold it to form a
triangle, just like you
Print your message on
colored paper, cut into
a triangle and glue
into the center.
Mail or drop off to
friends and family.