Hat Tip (Failed Messiah)
From Yemen Observer Newspaper (yobserver.com)
Front Page News
Al-Salem Jews celebrate Purim in Sana’a
By Mohammed al-Kibsi
Mar 6, 2007, 12:22
The al-Salem Jews gather outside in Sana’a’s Tourist City, to commemorate their historic escape from the wicked Hamam.
The Yemeni Jews of al-Salem celebrated Purim far from their homes last Sunday, in Sana’a’s Tourist City. The group of 45 Jews was forced to flee their homes in the northern province of Sada’a in January, after they received a letter threatening their lives.
Purim is Jewish festival celebrating the survival of the Jews marked for death in Persia in the 5th century BC. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, chief minister of King Ahasuerus, planned a general massacre of the Jews and set the date by casting lots. Ahasuerus’ wife Esther interceded for the Jews, and they were allowed to attack their enemies. The ritual observance begins with a day of fasting on the 13th of Adar (in February or March), the day before the actual holiday.
The Book of Esther is read in the synagogue, and Jews are enjoined to exchange gifts and make donations to the poor. Purim is a day of merrymaking and feasting. Purim is often celebrated by reading or acting out the story of Esther, and by making disparaging noises at every mention of Haman’s name. During Purim, it is a tradition to masquerade around in costumes and to give Mishloakh Manot (care packages, i.e. gifts of food and drink) to the poor and the needy.
Yahya Mosa, the son of the al-Salem’s rabbi, said that this feast is called alfor in the Hebrew language, and that it is called al-Fisal, which means “the separation,” in the Arabic language. He said that at this time they celebrate also the end of winter and the start of summer. “On this occasion Jews have to give charity, read Torah, and entertain their kids,” said Yahya. (More...)