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Purim in Hawaii
according to the Book of Esther

from the Forverts edition of April 11, 1943

A set of 5 pictures showing how Jewish servicemen stationed in Hawaii celebrated the annual festival of Purim. Observed on the 14h Adar, the festival commemorates the deliverance of Persian Jews from Haman’s plot to exterminate them. (Photos by John Hirschman from Hqrs. Hawaiian Department.)


CELEBRATING A VICTORY OVER A FORERUNNER OF HITLER. – Part of the large congregation of soldiers and sailors who crowded the Jewish Community Center of Honolulu, Hawaii, to attend Purim services in commemoration of the downfall of Haman, arch-foe of Persian Jewry over 24 centuries ago. Leading the congregation in prayer is Chaplain Norman Siegel, Asst. Department Chaplain of the Hawaiian Department, who was recently promoted to the rank of captain. Seated beside the Ark of the Law is Chaplain H. Cerf Straus, USNR.


SERVICEMEN OF THE JEWISH FAITH LISTEN TO THE STORY OF AN ANCIENT PLOT TO DESTROY JEWRY. — A scene during the reading of the Megilah (Book of Esther) by Private Max Reiser at the Jewish Community Center of Honolulu, Hawaii. Pvt. Reiser, an M. P. hailing from Philadelphia, is shown with his back to the camera. Facing the uniformed congregation is Chaplain Norman Siegel, under whose supervision Pvt. Reiser recited the story of Haman’s plotting against the Jews in ancient Persia, and how they were saved by Mordecai and Esther who discovered his plot to kill Persia’s king as well.


THANKSGIVING.— Jewish soldiers, sailors and war workers in Hawaii, pictured at Purim services as they offered thanks for the victory of Haman and prayed for the defeat of present-day tyrants. The synagogue, maintained by the Jewish Community Center of Honolulu, was so crowded that many worshipers stood in the aisles and in the doorway.


PURIM FEAST at the Jewish Community Center of Honolulu – The traditional “Hamantaschen” were baked by Sgt. Leibowitz, formerly of New York, while Honolulu Jewish matrons prepared the “gefilte fish” for the ceremonial dinner which was arranged by the Jewish Welfare Board.


ANOTHER GROUP AT THE FEAST following Purim Services at the Jewish Center of Honolulu, Hawaii.



Material from the Forverts (Yiddish Forward newspaper) of April 11, 1943.

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