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Purim bakers help spread holiday cheer
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Purim bakers help spread holiday cheer

Masha Milman of Manalapan came with her daughters, Mishele, 10, on left, and Roshele, eight, to bake hamantaschen.
Masha Milman of Manalapan came with her daughters, Mishele, 10, on left, and Roshele, eight, to bake hamantaschen.

They came to spread holiday cheer — with jam, of course, as well as chocolate chips, poppy seeds, and balls of dough.

About 150 women came to the Center for Jewish Life in Marlboro on Feb. 24, some with their daughters and a few with their sons, to prepare the triangle-shaped Purim pastries known as hamantaschen.

Some of the treats would go home with the mixers and bakers; hundreds of others were placed, per Purim custom, in “mishloah manot” gift baskets two nights later by members of JCL’s JTeen program and were distributed to seniors on the day before Purim. The program was sponsored by the CJL Women’s Circle.

“We want to give back as much as we can to the community,” said Clara Sapoznik of Manalapan as she worked alongside her daughter, Ariana, 10. “We want to spread the joy of Purim as much as we can with our kids.”

Like many of those present, Sapoznik was born in the former Soviet Union; she is a native of Moldova. 

“It’s a mitzva to come here with our friends to get into the spirit of the holiday,” said Renata Magurdumov of Old Bridge. “We came to pass on the traditions to our daughters.”

The young people appeared to enjoy mixing the flour and eggs and kneading the dough.

“I am here to help the old people who can’t make their own,” said eight-year-old Rachel Kaplan of Manalapan. 

As they worked, Dina Kanelsky, wife of CJL director Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky, explained that the Purim holiday is one of “hidden” meanings, from the poppy seeds and other fillings “concealed” inside the hamantaschen to the fact that God “is mentioned not even once” in the Book of Esther, which is read on the holiday, “just like the way God is kind of hidden in our lives.”

With its emphasis on Esther as the heroine of the Purim story, the holiday, she said, is also a testament to the “power of women who, just like Esther, always save the day and lead the way.” 

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