Bayit on the hook: Free beer for Jewish holiday | SummitDaily.com

Bayit on the hook: Free beer for Jewish holiday

Traditional hamantaschen cookies for the Jewish festival of Purim.

A Summit County group looking to carve out a larger Jewish presence in the Rocky Mountains is inviting everyone Sunday night to Broken Compass Brewing in Breckenridge to celebrate the holiday of Purim.

However, the Purim party will come with a charitable twist that's hard, if not impossible, to explain in a single sentence. The twist isn't the draw of free beer from 8-9 p.m., which is happening, or the promised opportunity to devour some hamentashen, a Jewish pastry typically reserved for this holiday.

Rather, it's a food drive in which the group, Backcountry Bayit, is asking people to bring at least two special items — hopefully more — to the party. From there, celebration organizers will add the donated items to their stockpile of food items and then redistribute the goods at the end of the night in bags to party-goers at the brewery.

They're doing this with the understanding that anyone who takes a bag will then turn around and give it to someone in need, whether that's a friend down on his luck or a random stranger — it doesn't really matter.

"Our hope is to empower the giving aspect of (Purim)," said Robyn Goldstein, one of three young Jewish people living in the Backcountry Bayit house in Frisco. "Instead of people just donating food, it's going out and handing a random person a bag of treats."

The whole idea dovetails nicely with the holiday that commemorates an event reported in the third section of the Jewish bible, The Book of Esther. In that story, the young Jewish woman named Esther saves her people from extermination in Persia at the hands of Haman, who was an advisor to the king and had plotted to destroy the Jewish people.

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Ultimately, the king heard Esther's pleas, saved her people and had Haman hanged on the gallows he had prepared for another key Jewish figure in the book, which contains some historical accuracies while describing events dating back to roughly 500 BCE.

In addition to a reading of the Book of Esther in synagogues, the holiday often involves a big meal, drinking, merrymaking and gifts of food to friends and the needy. It is widely recognized as one of the most fun and joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar.

"For a lot of young adults, Purim parties are a very fun time," Goldstein explained. "People usually have costume parties, drink a lot of beer and read the story of Purim, but we wanted to do something a little bit different, include the community a little more, and maybe, for people who haven't celebrated Purim very much, expose them to the holiday."

Purim is a daylong celebration that begins today and concludes Sunday.

If you go

What: Purim Party

When: 8 p.m. to midnight, Sunday

Where: Broken Compass Brewing, 68 Continental Court, Breckenridge

Info: Free beer will flow from 8-9 p.m. The party is free but people are being asked to bring at least two special items to add to gift bags and organizer’s stockpile of food items, which will be given away at the end of the night.

About Backcountry Bayit

With the group Backcountry Bayit, the latter part of the name means “house” in Hebrew — and they mean it in the literal sense with three young Jewish adults — Gabi Wasserman, Danit Cohen and Robyn Goldstein — all avid skiers and living together as roommates in Frisco. Their goal is to provide a communal programming space dedicated to giving the Jewish communities of Denver and Boulder a home away from home in the mountains, according to Reshet Ramah, Backcountry Bayit’s partner group.

“Yes, I’d say that’s part of our mission, definitely, because so many people come up on the weekends,” Goldstein said. “(But) we’re using that to build the community up here (in Summit County), and that’s our main goal. It’s a little hard finding people who are interested in this, but they’re out there. ”

In addition to community and expanding the Jewish presence in Summit County, the group has also been offering Shabbat dinners every Friday since January and even a few places to spend the night.

“It’s pretty new,” Goldstein said of the house, adding that they often have 15 to 20 people over for dinner. For more information about Backcountry Bayit, find them on Facebook or email them at backcountrybayit@gmail.com.