Today is Purim, which, among other things is celebrated by giving mutual gifts of food and drink and giving charity to the poor. Here, editor Alison Hankey, remembers how she celebrated Purim growing up and how that tradition ties-in with the good work that we’re all doing in the nonprofit community.
When I was growing up, we celebrated Purim at the school I attended and what I remember about it was that it was fun. We made and ate hamantaschen – the traditional, fruit-filled Purim pastry, we dressed up in colorful costumes and danced to Klezmer music, we played games and we told stories. But we also put our spare change or allowance money into a box for charity. In the midst of all the revelry there were lessons to be learned about the meaning and traditions of Purim. One of the most important traditions that my teachers emphasized for us was giving to charity and how collectively, if we and our friends and neighbors and others gave back, we might make a difference in the lives of people who needed it most. As a kid growing up, this was reinforced in my family too and it’s this idea of working collectively to solve larger problems that I recall today on the last day of Purim. The notion that “every little bit helps” is nice on its own but when groups of people have the same notion on a large scale and work together, that notion becomes a larger “Force for Good.”