Grab your lab suit and googles and join Chabad at the Challenger Space Center for this year’s community celebration of Purim, the holiday commemorating the Jewish people’s salvation in Persia of old. The festivities will be held at Challenger Space Center (where else of course) 3:30 p.m. March 12, featuring crazy experiments and odd explosions, with hands-on science, a masquerade, glow-in-the-dark Megilla reading, HaMantash dipping, mad science buffet dinner and more.

Billed as the most joyous date on the Jewish calendar, the daylong holiday commemorates the nullification in 356 B.C.E. of a Persian decree, calling for the extermination of the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire, as told in the biblical Book of Esther. Chabad’s original spin on this age-old holiday has helped bring the spirit of Purim to the West Valley year after year.

“Mad Science Purim will combine ancient Jewish traditions with a modern twist,” said Rabbi Sholom Lew, Rabbi of Chabad of the West Valley. “We focus on doing interesting and innovative programs, yet still keeping with the holiday theme.”

The event is a community-wide program, and all are welcome to join, regardless of Jewish affiliation or background. Participants will enjoy a Mad Science Show and hands-on science-related activities.

In addition, the celebration will feature a glow-in-the-dark and child-friendly reading of the Book of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillah.

“The event is focused primarily on spirit, fun, and tradition.” said Chana Lew, program director who helped organize the event. “Everyone is sure to have a great time.”

In the spirit of Purim, participants are encouraged to come in costume, with prizes for the most innovative or funny entries.

Cost is $18 for adults, $10 per child. A family rate is available.

RSVP online at www.ichabad.org/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/2118182.

Chabad of the West Valley offers Jewish education, outreach and social service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations. For more information, contact Chabad of the West Valley at 480-227-0958, or visit online at www.iChabad.org.

What is the holiday of Purim?

The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. It begins this year after sundown March 23 and ends at nightfall March 24. The holiday commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in Ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” It is observed by public readings of the Megillah, or Scroll of Esther, to recount the story of the Purim miracle, sending food gifts to friends, giving gifts of money to the poor and enjoying a festive Purim meal.