Esther’s Legacy: Celebrating Purim Around the World

Esther’s Legacy is a collection of 140 men’s and women’s personal thoughts, observations, memories and descriptions on the holiday of Purim. Written by people from nearly 100 Jewish communities, the collection strives to represent the diversity of worldwide Jewry while exploring the commonalities of celebrating Jewish life — and Purim in particular.

The stories in this book illustrate how Purim has survived and taken many forms as Jews move to different parts of the world; although the core remains the same, the cultures in which the Jews live give their practices a special flavor in each case. In many of the communities represented in Esther’s Legacy, the holiday of Purim was the only holiday that survived or was the holiday that enabled the Jewish community to survive.

The testimonials contained in the book follow the loose guidelines we set out for the writers: that they have 500 words or less, and that they focus on Purim to some extent. We received all manner of responses — stories and recollections, recipes and poems, song lyrics and descriptions of current celebrations. Many, if not most, contain some family or community history. They are humorous, touching and informative. Some are from communities that no longer exist, some from communities that are just now being rejuvenated in the new millennium. Some give cause for worry and concern about the future, while others engender hope. They show vulnerability but also remarkable resilience and resourcefulness to perpetuate Jewish traditions.

Please contact the HBI for additional information about the project and the publication that lead up to its culmination.