Dates for assembly

27th February 2004 at 00:00
March 7: Purim

This festival celebrates the way Esther, a young Jewish woman, saved her exiled people, who were living under Persian rule.

Outline script for assembly leader

King Xerxes (say: Zerk-sees) of Persia wanted a new wife. When he saw Esther, he knew that she was the one. So Esther became queen. On the advice of her cousin Mordecai, she didn't tell the king that she was Jewish. Soon after this, Mordecai heard of a plot to kill King Xerxes and told Esther.

She told the king, who found it was true and was pleased with Mordecai.

Time went by. A man called Haman became chief minister. Xerxes told everyone they must bow low to him, to show respect.

Mordecai refused to bow as if worshipping him. This made Haman hate Mordecai. Haman decided to get revenge by persuading Xerxes that every Jew in the country should be put to death.

Esther thought up a plan and went to the king: "I should like you and your chief minister to come to a feast." She organised a splendid banquet, which the king and the minister much enjoyed. She invited them to another banquet the next night.

On his way home, Haman met Mordecai. Again, Mordecai refused to bow. Haman was furious. He had a gallows built on which he could have Mordecai hanged.

The same night, the king remembered how Mordecai had saved him from a murderous plot. Next morning, the king sent for Haman. "I've decided to honour Mordecai. Dress him in royal robes and arrange for him to ride through the city on a royal horse."

Furious, Haman had to carry out the king 's orders. When it was time for Esther's second banquet, the king granted her a wish. "Spare my people who are to be put to death by Haman," she said.

The king decided his chief minister should die on his own gallows. "That's what shall happen to wicked Haman."

Follow-up

Every year, the Book of Esther is read in synagogues. During the reading, people make as much noise as possible at each mention of Haman's name, booing and even twirling football rattles. This may be possible in some assemblies.

For more information visit www.jewfaq.orgholiday9.htm

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