Tri-state Jews celebrate Purim - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Tri-state Jews celebrate Purim

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Quincy's Temple B'nai Sholom celebrated the Jewish Holiday Purim on Saturday.

"Purim celebrates the ancient miracle in what's today Iran, was then Persia," Rabbi Justin Kerber said.

The Rabbi read a story in Hebrew about an ancient king whose advisor named Haman tried to kill the Jews in the kingdom, but was stopped by the king's wife Esther, who was secretly Jewish.

"Those groggers are those noisemakers that people twirl," Kerber said.

They're used to block out Haman's name, and the customary cookies, called Hamantaschen, are meant to look like his hat.

"It's supposed to be his tri-cornered hat," Kerber said. "It's an Eastern European pastry. Everybody loves them, what more do you need?"

For the 40 people across the tri-states who come to Temple B'nai Sholom, without it, they wouldnt have a place to come celebrate this holiday.

"They all know that there's no one else who's going to do it for them," Kerber said. "If they want to have a Jewish life here, they have to be responsible personally for making it happen."

"To my surprise, someone told me there was a synagogue here in town," new Quincy resident Michael Ginsburg said.

Newcomers to Quincy like Ginsburg say Jewish culture here is hard to find.

"I even asked the postman where the Synagogue was," Ginsburg said. "I was two blocks away, and he couldn't even tell me."

With such a small population, the Temple has to bring in Rabbi Kerber from Saint Louis and can only hold services every other week.

"They've really been grateful to have a Rabbi who's willing to come out," Kerber said. "There's something really close-knit about communities like this one."

Despite their small numbers, the members of Temple B'nai Sholom work hard to keep their traditions alive.

The actual holiday starts on March 16th, but this Saturday was the only day the Rabbi and congregation members could gather to celebrate.

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