The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Celebrating Purim at Aggieland

Shelby Knowles — THE BATTALION(From left to right) communication junior Dan Rosenfield, English freshman Celeste Swanson, psychology junior Rebecca Waronoff and health senior Alex Powell enact a “megillah” reading, preformed two years ago. 

Shelby Knowles — THE BATTALION

(From left to right) communication junior Dan Rosenfield, English freshman Celeste Swanson, psychology junior Rebecca Waronoff and health senior Alex Powell enact a “megillah” reading, preformed two years ago. 

To allow Jewish students to feel at home over the holidays, the Rohr Chabad Jewish Center held a variety of events on and off Texas A&M’s campus to celebrate Purim.
The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. In 2018, Purim began on the evening of Feb. 28 and continued through March 1. The holiday commemorates Megillah, the story of Esther, in which the Jewish people in ancient Persia are saved from Prime Minister Haman’s plan to eradicate all Jewish people.
Kicking off the holiday of Purim, Chabad hosted a Hamentashen competition, “Chopped,” on the evening of Feb. 28. According to Erin van Creveld, senior meteorology major, students and members of the community came out to bake Hamentashen, a traditional three cornered pastry eaten on Purim, and competed to be the Hamentashen champion.
“Students rolled up their sleeves and created very unique Hamentashen,” van Creveld said. “My group was me and the Rabbi and Rebbetzin’s three young triplets. We made a caramel surprise sprinkled with colorful chocolate chips for decoration. Another group did Thanksgiving themed and another made some delicious looking granola ones. It was a hard battle but at the end of the day, everyone’s turned out great.”
Rohr Chabad Jewish Center is a community center that works to provide Jewish resources and materials to anyone in Aggieland. According to Manya Lazaroff, Rebbetzin and co-director of Chabad, the center seeks to facilitate in educational, social, and emotional needs.
“This is a home away from home for the students,” Lazaroff said. “The students should have the sights and sounds and smells of the holiday. Any opportunity where a young student is able to feel more comfortable on campus and connect with their people and their heritage is important to me.”
There are four fundamental pieces to observe the holiday: the Megillah reading, sending a food gift, giving charity to at least two poor people and partaking in a festive meal. Although the story of Esther happened an extensive amount of time ago, Lazaroff said Purim is about taking messages from the past into the present and creating a brighter future.
“If you look at all of the books in the Bible, the book of Esther is the only book that doesn’t have God’s name written in it even once,” Lazaroff said. “In life we don’t see God’s hand; it’s concealed. So, it’s God that is concealed within every day of our lives. We don’t see God’s hand in everyday, but God is behind the scene pulling the strings. Those messages are very relevant in 2018. You’re here for a reason, there is something that the world needs you for. Exactly where you find yourself, that’s where you’re meant to be.”
On March 1, Megillah readings were held at Chabad and at the Memorial Student Center. The celebration came to an end at Chabad with the Purim ‘70s costume party bash. According to van Creveld, it is a custom to dress up for this holiday, which symbolizes looking beyond the facades and masks of people.
“One of my favorite Purim memories is dressing up as Queen Esther when I was younger,” van Creveld said. “I think most little girls at one point in their lives dress up as Queen Esther. After all, what little kid doesn’t want to be a Queen.”
Brandon Rumann, economics junior, dressed as popular guitarist Slash to participate in the ‘70s party. Rumann said God’s own costume is the world, and that dressing in costume allows recognition of God’s presence even in disco balls.
“People wonder what the point of the holiday is,” Rumann said. “Is it really just to have a party and have fun? Definitely, that’s a point. But, when you put all four parts of Purim together you have this coming-togetherness that you don’t regularly see. When we take the time to come together and to understand the world from God’s perspective of concealment, then we’re able to effectively take that next step forward and calibrate ourselves and ask “where are we headed and what are we doing with our lives?”

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