GOSHEN-Purim, the most joyous holiday in the Jewish calendar, celebrates the 2,400-year-old story of Queen Esther's intervention in a plot by the King of Persia's wicked adviser Haman to massacre the Jews. During the Purim celebration, the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) is read as listeners boo, stomp their feet, and sound their graggers (noisemakers) at each mention of Haman's name. Children dress in masks and costumes of their favorite characters from the Purim story. Other holiday traditions include giving charity to the poor and sending gifts of food to friends. A popular treat is Hamantaschen, prune-filled cookies shaped like Haman's three-cornered hat. On Thursday, March 24, Rabbi Meir Borenstein is sponsoring a "Purim USA" celebration at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Middletown beginning at 6:30 p.m. The reading of the Megillah will be accompanied by a slide show presentation, followed by a buffet dinner, live music and dance, a Jewish-themed balloon sculptor, and a caricaturist. Everyone in costume will receive a prize. The event is free and open to everyone, regardless of background or affiliation. In other Purim observations, Rabbi Borenstein will visit the Elant nursing home between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. on Friday, March 25, to read the Megillah and hand out baskets, and will host a "Purim lunch break" at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Chosun Tae Kwan Do Academy, on Main St. in Warwick, to give businesspeople a chance to celebrate the holiday. For more information, call 291-0514 or send e-mail to email:email@example.com Purim carnivals are also scheduled for Sunday, March 20, at Congregation Eitz Chaim (County Rte. 105, Monroe) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and at the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism (North Main St., Monroe) from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.