The Museum of

       Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays






The Purim Festival in My Town
Zambrów, Poland

In the Zembrower Yizkor Book, the Editor, Dr. Yom-Tov Lewinski, gives a detailed description of the Feast of Purim with its most prominent features of celebration, namely the masquerade ranging in form all the way from crude disguising to full-fledged theatre performances. Zambrów grownups, adults and youths, boys and girls, dress up in gaudy and strange robes and clothes, and make the rounds of Zambrów Jewish homes, singing various Yiddish songs, collecting money for homeless people (Hakhnasat Orhim Society) and for poor brides (Hakhnassat Kallah Society).

This was done in accordance with old Jewish usage and custom. Dr. Lewinski gives some Yiddish texts of songs sung by Zambrów youths on Purim whilst making their rounds of the dignified Baale-Batim of Zambrów. The Tsarist police had forbidden the use of the special Purim dresses. So the community heads hid them in the house of the Zambrów Rabbi, R. Dov Menahem Regensberg.

Of special interest is the description of the Purim theatre consisting of elaborate performances of Mekhirat Joseph (a play describing the Biblical event of Joseph sold by his brothers and the whole Scriptural story of Joseph in Egypt).

During the Purim festival in 1905, Haim David, the son of the Rabbi produced the hidden robes and clothes for the performance of a popular play entitled David and Goliath. The actors of this play were Yeshiva students from Zambrów. Some fragments of texts of this performance in Yiddish are cited by the author.

The Tsarist police was much concerned about this performance, suspecting some Revolutionary tricks behind the "Jewish theatre". People said that David Yehudise's the son of the old midwife informed the police about Jewish revolutionary designs during that Purim of the eventful year 1905 at Zambrów. next ►►


Zambrów 14

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Material courtesy of the United Zembrower Society

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