Principal Marc Light looks at the camera, he is wearing a grey suit and smiling. The King David School's logo is behind him, silver on a wood background.

Purim Sameach

Growing up as a King David student, Purim was the absolute highlight of my year. 

I have previously shared with the school community some of the more creative costumes that I wore. There was the year that my friends and I were Snap, Crackle and Pop – the characters that were used to advertise Kellog’s Rice Bubbles. There was the year that I was a shower. Another when I was a pretty unkosher packet of McDonald’s fries and finally, inspired by a beautiful book my Kindergarten teacher used to read to me, I was Monty the mouse, replete with fairy wings to assuage my jealousy at my sister’s costume.

I loved everything about Purim – the hamentaschen, the songs, the parade, the games and activities and the reading of Megilat Esther.

The most memorable aspects of Purim are the shared moments with family – the pride in parents and grandparents attending the School for our parade and the costumed photos with siblings, friends and cousins. There is also joy in seeing the way that our teachers are so generous in their participation and their willingness to laugh at themselves and along with our students.

The love I have for Purim is amplified as an adult and as Principal of this wonderful school. For me the joy is now in seeing the next generation delighting in our collective heritage. There is something so elevating in seeing our youngest students forging the memories, the values and identity that will serve them for their lives.

Purim, like all of our major festivals, also becomes an opportunity for our student leaders to exercise the skills that they have developed in our Hadracha (leadership training) programs. They take initiative in setting the ruach (spirit) and work closely with our Jewish Experiential Educators to ensure that our students all experience a riotous day of fun, frivolity and Jewish learning.

 Another joy is in the gradual and developmentally appropriate continuum of learning about the festival that makes it relevant to the students’ lives. In the earliest years of school, this is about learning the key players in the story and participating in the ritual. In later years this develops into sophisticated analysis of the themes and issues presented in the Purim narrative. 

The manner in which we celebrate Purim reflects our commitment to engaging our students in joyful Judaism. At King David we are non-judgemental in our approach to Jewish Life. We do not believe that there is a “right” way to do Judaism. Rather, we encourage our students to partake in a range of meaningful moments and strive to give them the skills, knowledge and tools to make intelligent, purposeful and informed choices about what this means for them. Our hope is that the humour, laughter, ruach and memories of these days help to form part of the foundational experience that become the basis for their ongoing relationship with Jewish life. 

Finally, Judaism teaches us that even on our happiest days we remember pain. On Pesach, we spill wine from our cups to remember that even as we celebrate our liberation, we do not gloat in the suffering that befell the Egyptians. At our weddings we smash a cup to remember the sorrow of the destruction of the Temples. And so today, as we rejoice in the wonderful celebration that is Purim, we must temper our celebration with acknowledgment of the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza and its tragic consequences. We hope that next year, we can all experience unmoderated joy.

Shabbat shalom,
Marc Light