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Purim party allows CSU to celebrate Jewish history

The Biblical book of Esther tells the story of Jewish persecution by Persian Prime Minister Haman in the fourth century B.C.E. Esther ultimately saved the Jewish people from Haman’s plot to kill them, and so each year in the spring, Purim is celebrated.

“Purim, like most Jewish holidays, is the success of the Jews in fighting adversity and hardships and maintaining our religion,” said Zack Josephs, vice president of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi and sophomore philosophy major.

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A Purim celebration will be held Wednesday at 8 p.m. in C.B. & Potts on Elizabeth Street, a collaborative effort between AePI and Jewish student organizations Chabad and Hillel.

Alex Ingber, vice president of Chabad and sophomore health and exercise science major, said Purim is conducive to collaboration between student groups, because unlike other Jewish holidays, Purim does not include many religious observances that may differ between rabbis and groups.

“Purim is more of a universal Jewish message that doesn’t really have much religious observance focus,” Ingber said. “It’s more of a story in Jewish history that allows all Jews to celebrate it in the same way.”

The Colorado State University Purim celebration will include a live band, food, a costume contest, raffles and reading of the Megillah, the story of Purim.

The holiday does include additional traditions, according to Josephs. A feast will be served, and people often give gifts of money to the poor and gifts of food to friends.

This is the first year AePI has helped host the event, but Hillel and Chabad have been hosting a Purim celebration at CSU for over 10 years, according to Rose Bork, Hillel president and sophomore social work major.

“We’re really excited that this is a time when we can all come together and be a community,” Bork said. “We all met, all three boards, and planned what we’d like to see the event be.”

Jewish holidays are set-based on the Hebrew calendar, not the Western calendar, so the holidays’ dates often vary.

“Last year, the Purim party fell over spring break, so the community that was able to attend was much smaller,” Josephs said. “This semester, the event obviously falls during the school year … so we’re hoping that the community as a whole can come together and put on a really successful event.”

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Collegian Reporter Ellie Mulder can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @lemarie.

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