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For Kids: Hamantaschen

February 25, 2011

This sweet story follows a Jewish family as they prepare for the holiday of Purim.

A young friend, visiting on a play-date, helps the family make hamantaschen. These are triangular cookies with filling, which is often fruit, poppy seed or chocolate. They're named for the ears or hat of Haman.

Haman was the evil advisor to the king of Persia; the Purim story focuses on his evil plot. He asked the king to expel all the Jews from the country. Esther, the king's wife, explains that she too will have to leave if he follows Haman's plan; the king had not known that she was also a Jew. In the end, Haman is banished instead.

The only thing this story lacks is a recipe for the hamantaschen. I'd like to reach right through the screen and grab one!

It's also good introduction to Jewish family life beyond the holiday of Purim: we learn that men wear yarmulkes and why we hang mezuzahs on the door. Told from the outside looking in, it may be a good introduction for your children's friends who may be curious about our culture.

Thanks to Shalom Sesame for the video.
Yiddish for "Haman's pockets," and shaped after the three-corner hat of Haman (the villain of the Purim story), these are triangular cookies with poppy seed, jam or fruit filling in the middle. Hebrew for "lots," referring to the lots cast by Haman, the story's antagonist, to determine the date on which to kill the Jewish people. It's a spring holiday commemorating the Jewish people's triumph. The story is told through the biblical Book of Esther; the namesake heroine, a Jewish woman, marries the Persian king. Their interfaith relationship is central to the story.
Matt Hawkins

Matt Hawkins is a freelance photo journalist who raises his family in Franklin, MA. He is widely recognized for making the area's best latkes and challah.

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