A Friendly Message to Our Neighbours Concerning the Purim Festival

Lire cet article en français "Un message amical à nos voisins concernant la fête de Pourim"

Young Children in Outremont. Purim 2005

The following message was delivered to the doors of our neighbours in Outremont and Mile End (see pdf)

A Friendly Message to Our Neighbours

Although we try our best to avoid inconveniencing our neighbors, however there might be some more traffic and noise during Purim which will take place on February 23 and 24, 2013.

Purim is a peaceful celebration of families and children. We hope that you will bear with us just for this one day as you have done so graciously over the past 60 years.

If you have any complaints about your Hassidic neighbor’s behavior we strongly suggest that you please do not hesitate to do the neighborly thing and communicate directly your issues with them. This will avoid so much misunderstandings, frustrations and animosity. Besides that, by communicating directly a greater mutual respect is fostered and your neighbor will hopefully become more sensitive to any future concerns.

OutremontHassid.com – Friends of Hutchison

What is Purim?

Purim is Judaism’s most joyous, fun-filled holiday. Purim commemorates the dramatic turn-around of events, where Haman – a royal minister for King Ahasuerus in the ancient Persian empire of the 4th century BCE – tried to annihilate the Jewish people. The Jews were saved through God’s miraculous arranging of events, as expressed in the Book of Esther.

Purim is celebrated annually on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (usually in February or March). Purim is celebrated by Jews worldwide including Hassidic Jews living in Outremont and Mile End.

What do we do?

Give Charity to The Poor
On Purim we give a donation to whoever asks. That’s why it’s customary for kids go around from house to house in groups collecting donations for the needy, their schools, and other community service organizations. Upon entering each home they cheerfully

sing, dance and recite special poems to solicit the donors. This explains all the mini-buses/vans that go around the neighborhood to transport these groups of kids. After many years it has been proven to be the safest mode of transportation in this environment.

Give Gifts of Food to Friends
On the day of Purim we emphasize the importance of unity and friendship by giving gifts of food to friends, neighbors, family, teachers and classmates.

The average Hassidic family has many and each child delivers these gifts to their many friends and teachers. This explains the traffic rush that is created during late morning into the late afternoon hours on the day of Purim. Because of Montreal’s weather, most families find that the most efficient way to deliver the many gifts is to put all the kids in the family vehicle and go up and down the streets in the most systematic fashion in order to cover all friends, teachers and family in this short time frame.

Dressing Up
Purim we dress up in costumes in an expression of appreciation for God who “disguised” his presence behind the natural events described in the Purim story, and has remained concealed (yet ever-present) in Jewish history. In addition, since charity is a central feature of the day, when givers and/or recipients disguise themselves this allows greater anonymity thus preserving the dignity of the recipient.

The Festive Purim Feast
Towards the end of the day, family and friends gather together to rejoice in the Purim spirit. The drinking of wine symbolizes the jovial nature of the feast. This is also based on the fact that the salvation of the Jews occurred through wine, as related in the Book of Esther.

12 comments (4 comments in English, 8 comments in French)

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  1. Nikolaos
    February 21, 2013

    Perhaps the author should learn how to spell neighbours in Canadian English, unless the neighbours is in reference of those of New York City.

    • Boruch Posner
      February 21, 2013

      Nikolaos, you are right, we should be proud with our Canadian dialect, I just updated the titles accordingly.

  2. Johanne Paquette
    February 24, 2013

    Thank you for your friendly message, I know more about the Purim now, I hope you have a nice celebration, and I hope that communication will take place all year long between the different communities. Regards, Johanne Paquette , Hutchison street.

  3. Elizabeth Ball
    February 24, 2013

    Happy Purim to all of you! Our family loves seeing all the kids dressed up and hearing the happy singing and celebrations! Thanks for the friendly message, it was very interesting and informative. Elizabeth Ball and family, Querbes street