The Purim Story – Dramatisation (audio)
I have just discovered (shortly before Purim 5780) – to my delight – that something I used successfully for years is now online. This is a dramatisation of the whole Purim story. I had this (and probably still do somewhere) on a set of cassette tapes, but it has been uploaded to Youtube!
Note that this amazing production does include lots of material from Midrash and Talmud that is not in the Megillah itself – you might wish to clarify for your pupils what is what.
(If it starts a little way in to the audio just move it back to the beginning.)
This will keep the children entertained for several lessons, and (but don’t tell anyone) you can sit back and enjoy it with them!
You could give them something to do while they listen (e.g. one of the exercises below), and / or stop it from time to time to briefly discuss.
There are some great songs here, too.
This is also available to purchase as an audio download, as pointed out in this text which accompanies the Youtube link above:
“The Purim Story by Rabbi Yossi Kirsch and Sruly Greenwald set the standard for Purim storytelling. Originally released by ToraVision™ in the early 1990’s, The Purim Story went on to become the prolific children’s tape of the generation, both at home and in classrooms world-wide. Step back in time and experience one of the most suspenseful episodes in Jewish History. Hear Mordechai as he warns the people not to attend the King’s banquet. Listen to Haman and Achashverosh scheme to destroy the Jews. Follow the saga of B’nai Yisroel as they return to Hashem. Purchase the audio download from the Professor Torah website” (Adapted from professortorah.com/audio-stories/the-purim-story/)
Megillah Study Sheet
In this exercise pupils are required to study specific pesukim and sections of Megillat Esther. The exercise can be employed as it is, but the teacher may well wish to add or subtract from it. Either way, it forms the basis for a great deal of discussion around some of the major themes and lessons inherent in the Megillah.
Each time I use this exercise I think of new ideas and usually include new sections for study. I recommend this for ages 10 / 11 upwards. The notes, under the heading “What is meant by ‘important'”, emerged directly out of my teaching this unit, as I repeatedly stopped the activity to provide the pupils with tips on how best to work on this. Both individual and pairs work have been successful. Pairs work is active and productive, but some children preferred to work by themselves and did so conscientiously.
Finally, you will need to decide how much you prepare the class for this task. Will you review the story, introduce some of the themes that the exercise is intended to highlight, or work through part of the exercise together before directing the pupils to continue by themselves? The idea of the exercise is to gain an appreciation of the messages in the Megillah through studying, comparing and contrasting specific textual and narrative elements, rather than a mundane reading from start to finish. However, you may find it is worthwhile preparing for the activity by reminding the class of how Hashem is hidden in the Megillah and that we can notice Him if we watch very carefully as the story unfolds. This should attune the pupils to the kinds of responses you want to encourage. Just don’t ‘feed’ them too much!
Here is an interesting idea for teaching the concept of “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimchah” – when Adar begins we increase our rejoicing.
Megillat Esther – The Play!
Click on the link below. Printing this sheet on A3 paper will give your pupils more room to write in the table. Or just create a larger table of your own, based on this one, with more room to write.
Listening to Megillat Esther
The Megillah – Full Text
Is your school Megillah reading becoming too long and too noisy?
This may be the solution!
The Megillah – Full text with alternate Hamans highlighted.
Display on a screen during Keriat haMegillah. Someone must point all the way through, an explanation must be given to make clear that noise may be made only at the highlighted Hamans and clear signals must be given to start and stop the noisemaking. You’ve also got to get the Ba’al K’riah ‘on side’ – i.e. he must know not to stop at every Haman!