A Persian Princess for Purim
Raya is disappointed that her Purim costume isn’t ready. And to make things worse, she’s too young to perform in the school’s Purim play! But not to worry. Her grandmother, Mama Joon, remembers how she celebrated Purim back when she was a young girl in Hamdan, Iran, and she shares those traditions with Raya. Together, they find ways to make their American Purim beautiful, delicious and fun.
Just in time for Purim comes A Persian Princess, a new Jewish American tale from Apples & Honey Press, written by Barbara Diamond Goldin and illustrated by Steliyana Doneva.
Jews have lived in the area that is now Iran for more than 2,500 years. Before 1979, there were about 80,000 Jews in Iran. To celebrate Purim, many would come to the city of Hamadan, where Maman joon is from, because, according to tradition, the tombs of Mordecai and Esther are located there. They would visit the tombs, where they would chant the story of Esther. They would also bake special Purim cookies called koloocheh and shared baskets of food, called mishloach manot, with relatives and friends.
The climate for Jews in Iran changed after 1979, and about two-thirds of them settled in other countries. Today, the largest communities of Persian Jews in the United States are in Los Angeles and on Long Island.
This modern Purim story "rekindles the wondrous legacy of Persian Jewry," says Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
“This enchanting story of a young girl who dresses up for Purim as a proud, Persian, princess is sure to delight! With thousands of Persian Jews in diaspora all over the world, teaching our children about our proud heritage before it is lost is urgent. Like the keloocheh cookies and bright scarves in the story, Goldin presents Persian Jewish life as delicious and wondrous." - Rebecca Yousefzadeh Sassouni, president of the Sephardic Heritage Alliance
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