7 Sounds to Bring the Cinema to the Megillah


What qualifies an event as epic? High stakes, heroes and villains, close calls, a rise or fall from grace, a journey? Based on any of these criteria, the Purim story (summarized here) qualifies. So, I picked out 7 cinematic, sound effects (below) that I think will bring some humor and drama to the Megillah reading. Pull these sound effects up on your phone to become the most popular person at your Purim party.

Traditionally, adults and children alike listen to Megillat Esther (the Purim story) poised, ready to spin their groggers and pound their feet upon hearing the vile name Haman. Why do we make such a ruckus? A common reason given is that we want to erase Haman’s name and memory. Frankly, that explanation alone doesn’t do much for me. I need meatier ideas. So take a bite out of this: Gematria, an ancient system that assigns numerical values to the Hebrew letters plays a reoccurring role in Jewish mysticism. Though a bit complex to explain here, the gematria of the Purim story reveals that Haman represents the idea of doubt. A fierce foe, doubt fights dirty, sabotaging plans and weakening the strong. Maybe there are examples in your own life where doubts turned you into your own worst enemy.

Furthermore, Haman who hated the Jews and wanted to eliminate them, descends from the King of Amalek whom many consider the founder of anti-Semitism, biblically speaking.

Then by spinning our groggers and pounding our feet, we actually intend to stomp out doubt and hatred! By actively and verbally renouncing what Haman stands for over and over again, we recommit ourselves to the achievement of our potential on both a personal and global scale. On Purim, we identify our inner and outer enemies, and drown them out with noise, confidence, happiness and dancing.

Each of us has challenges that feel epic at times. But we can overcome them. And should doubt tell you otherwise, play one of these sound effects to put that nasty instigator in its place.

7 Haman-Muting Sound Effects

1. A classic BOOoooOOooooOOOoooooOOO. (5 seconds)

2. A Cuckoo. (3 seconds)

3. Dr. Evil’s theme music from Austin Powers. (7 seconds)

4. A slap across the face. (2 seconds)

5. A fabulous and appropriate insult from The Princess Bride. (2 seconds)

6. A sports air horn. (2 seconds)

7. A fitting Haman description from the movie Dumb & Dumber. (1 second)

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5 Ways to Let your Inner Queen Reign

Keep Calm and Esther On _ Joyish_Let queen reign_ Lara Dvora_ Berman_PurimYou rule. You know you do. But you don’t always feel that way. I get it—I’m talking to myself as I talk to you. Lucky for us, we’re in good company. Queen Esther herself didn’t feel like she ruled all of the time either.

Beautiful, sweet and ferociously intelligent (I know so many women who fit this description), her husband’s advisor Haman was dangerously close to enacting a plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Secretly a Jew herself, Esther was perfectly positioned to speak up and save her people! If she failed however, she faced certain death.

Esther’s potential to do great, important things shone to everyone around her. But internally, she felt doubtful and afraid. Fortunately, her dear Uncle Mordechai believed in her, and urged her to trust her abilities.

“Listen, you’ve got this! ” Uncle Mordi said, without a trace of guilt or coercion. “But, if you don’t do anything…well, the Jews will survive some other way.”*

We know what happens next: Esther faces her fears, heroically rises to fulfill her destiny, and Haman hangs on the very gallows he built for the Jews.

Esther was a queen, a hero and a human.

5 Ways to Let Your Inner Queen Reign:

  1. Trust Yourself. The root of the word “Esther” relates to the Hebrew word “hester,” which means “hidden.” Just because you haven’t done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t. I have doubts, you have doubts, every leader has doubts. So what? If your inner voice says, “yes,” if it nags and persists, listen. This is your hidden potential seeking to be revealed.
  2. Believe. I bet each of us has an “Uncle Mordi” in our life, someone who truly sees us. They believe in us and push us, but we dismiss them. Don’t they have to say those things? Well, no, they don’t. And actually, they can see what we can’t sometimes. Try believing them.
  3. Stand up for what you believe. Queens exercise their spines. They’re passionate and willingly stand for truth, even when it’s unpopular. That’s one reason they make and change history.
  4. Act Now. Do it now, whatever it is, because if you don’t, someone else will. Rather than cause panic (well maybe a little panic), I see Mordechai’s message to Esther as humbling and motivational. The world isn’t waiting for our grand arrival, but that doesn’t change the fact that we each have a unique role, a unique contribution to make right now. Someone else could do it, but not like you.
  5. Wear a Crown, Really!…or at least a sparkly headband. Socially acceptable forms of dress up—like headbands—add fun and playfulness. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m royalty every time I wear one. But I do feel fancier, and it can cue some queenly consciousness each time I catch sight of it in a mirror or window.

Rule, reign, rock that crown. You got this.


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Dazzling & Easy Mishloach Manot


There was a time when I wanted to open a highly specialized, gift-basket business where I’d create very customized, unique presents for clients. I never pursued it. Enter Purim, the holiday that makes it a mitzvah to give at least 3, ready-to-eat gifts, typically referred to as Mishloach Manot. Delight and dazzle and customize away!

Well, if I must.

This year, I’ve chosen a “One Fish, Two Fish; Me Fish, You Fish” mishloach manot theme. The Food Network taught me the importance of layering flavors into dishes, so this Adar-able fish theme should inject subtle undertones of consciousness into my Purim treat.

Ingredients (all kosher parve):

  • Rice Crispy Treats (I bought mine ready made to save time.)
  • Kosher Swedish Fish knock-off
  • Fruit roll ups
  • Sea blue Jordan almonds
  • Dried pears
  • Icing
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Ginger (optional)
  • Clear cellophane
  • Ribbon
  • Thematic card (optional)

Apricot Nemo JoyishTo make these cute Nemo fish, I shaped dried pears into fish, used icing to add stripes, and added chocolate chips for the eyes.


These candy nigiri pieces couldn’t be simpler. I just cut ready-made Rice Krispies treats into sushi-sized pieces. (If you can make your Rice Krispies treats from scratch, even better.) Place a fish gummy on top. To create your seaweed, slice a fruit roll-up into strips and wrap it around the two to hold them together.

MishloachManot_Purim Put it all together! Place your smiley Nemo and Sushi pieces on a bed of sea-blue Jordan almonds and gummy fish. I used a piece of ginger and several, sour, gummy candies to create ambient coral.

For a finishing touch, wrap your ‘Under the Sea’ scene in cellophane and tie with a thematic ribbon. To explain my fishy theme to recipients and personalize the gift, I scanned and shrunk my holiday art and turned it into a card.

Who wouldn’t love getting this colorful package? These ideas can be re-used and re-purposed at birthday and theme parties, but first and foremost, you’ve created fun and meaningful Mishloach Manot. Enjoy!

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Purim, Pisces and Perspective

Purim = playing dress up. (My fave.)

The month of Adar (Pisces) = The Month of Happiness.

Together, it was a clear signal that now is the time to launch my first blog, centered around fabulous, Jewish living…according to me. Welcome to Joyish!

The perfect introductory post occurred to me the other day while listening to a class by one of my favorite teachers David Sacks. During his Purim lecture from last year, he shared the anecdote illustrated in my painting below. His story was perfect. Why? Because it very simply explains Judaism. From the questioning, to the humor, to the (all fishiness aside) depth.

Print available on Etsy.

We swim around like these little Pisces fish, la la la, wondering if Hashem exists. We wonder whether or not He’s paying attention and if He’s getting it right, all the while oblivious to the reality that we’re actually completely engulfed, swimming in a sea of Hashem. David shared this anecdote near Purim because the Jews really felt abandoned by Hashem and threatened by the Persian kings at the time. But, Hashem was there, both completely revealed and concealed at once.

That obvious-yet-obscure paradox remains. Not so much has changed, down to the threatening Persian kings! We still doubt and forget and need to be reminded that it’s all working fine. I do. But that’s what makes this a good story and a great opening context for Joyish. Holding onto this Purim perspective helps me swim more easily. I hope you’ll join me. The water’s just fine.

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