The S&P Blog

The S&P Blog

Purim Melodies

A highlight of the Purim celebration is the public reading of the Book of Esther. Unlike many other Jewish communities, in the S&P tradition the Megillah is not read according to the ta'amei hamikra (cantillation marks). Instead, it is read in a fixed recitative which, attesting to its antiquity, is virtually identical across all of the communities within the S&P tradition. You can listen to some examples below. There is another unique custom in S&P congregations: while other Jewish communities respond to each mention of the villain Haman by making noise, often with rattles, in the S&P tradition this is actively discouraged. For instance, in 1783 the Mahamad of the Spanish and Portuguese Con

Malvats and Amargs

These recipes – in honor of Purim – come from Luigi Martell, whose great-grandparents came from Catalonia to Puerto Rico, where he grew up. Many of his family’s sweetmeats and dishes for the holidays have been dug up over the years from collections of recipes hailing from the different lands of the former Crown of Aragon of which the Principality of Catalonia was an integral part. Among those foods that Luigi has luckily been able to recover are these cookies for Purim: “malvats” (or the “wicked-ones”), which are shaped to look like evil Haman and his equally wicked wife Zeresh, and “amargs” or chewy and usually round bitter almond biscuits, which for Purim are not round but rather three-cor

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