Graggers up! Federation, Board of Rabbis and Agency Staffs Make a Purim Ruckus


Thirty minutes flat. That’s all it took for Rabbi Effie Goldberg to chant “the whole megillah” to commemorate Purim at The Jewish Federation Goldsmith Center on Thursday morning, March 8.

Rabbi Goldberg, West Coast executive director of NCSY, read from the scroll of Esther for staff members of the Federation, Board of Rabbis of Southern California and other agencies in the building. Purim, a joyous, raucous holiday, commemorates the Jews’ defeat of the evil Haman (booo!) in ancient Persia.

On Purim, the Jewish community celebrates by listening to the story of Queen Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, recounted in the megillat Esther – a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible); giving gifts to one another; giving to the poor; and enjoying a festive meal. What’s not to like?

More than 50 communal workers in costumes and wacky hats packed a conference room to listen – and drown out Haman’s name with graggers (noisemakers) and boos – during the ancient story. The staff also noshed on hamantashen, traditional triangular cookies (shaped like “Haman’s hat”) with fillings such as poppyseed, prune, or chocolate.

“The holiday of Purim provides an opportunity to gather as a community to celebrate courage and survival – as well as caring for Jews in need, a central mission of the Jewish Federation,” said Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis. “We thank Rabbi Goldberg for sharing his time and talents with us this morning.”