Mishenichnas Adar, marbin b’simcha.
“When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy.”
— Gemara (Taanit 29b)
Quick primer: Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar. In fact, it’s the first day of the second month of Adar, since this year is a leap year — which, in the Jewish lunar calendar, means not just adding an extra day but a whole extra month (known in those years as Adar I).
The point is, it’s less than two weeks until the festival of Purim, when we celebrate the Persian Jews’ deliverance from persecution in the fourth century BCE, as detailed in the Book of Esther.
So I wanted to share some little-known Purim music collections… the perfect soundtrack for your hamantashen baking.
First, The Ramaz School in NYC (where I was the webmaster from 2011-2014) produced an album of Purim songs in 2012, featuring both students and faculty. The whole collection can be played or downloaded for free at web.ramaz.org/purim/index.html. Brush up on standards like Mishenichnas Adar and Shoshanat Yaakov, and enjoy some new and original compositions. Yasher koach to Ramaz for being leaders in Jewish education and music education, as well as service to the greater community.
Second, I would be remiss not to point out the two Purim-themed operas by David Bass, The Coronation of Esther (2001) and its sequel Springtime for Haman (2004). The North Cambridge [MA] Family Opera Company hosts recordings of both operas:
- The Coronation of Esther: complete recordings by three different casts from the 2001 premiere
- Springtime for Haman: selections performed by two different casts (one featuring yours truly as Zeresh, Haman’s wife) from their 2010 production. You can also hear David Bass discuss the creation of the opera.
Chodesh tov and shabbat shalom!