Purim, the Jewish holiday that commemorates how the Jewish people were saved from evil Haman’s plot by Esther and her cousin, Mordechai, remains a day for celebration and joy. Here’s a round-up of how JCCs throughout our movement have marked the occasion.
- The Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC in Bridgewater, N.J., celebrated Purim with a Women’s Hamantaschen Bake and Wine Tasting on March 1 and a Family Shabbat Dinner on March 3.
- At Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center in Denver, Colo., Laura Menorah once again brought the party and plenty of Jewish schtick to the third annual adult-only Purim Drag Queen Bingo on March 4.
- Family friendly Purim carnivals complete with some combo of costumes, food, inflatables, hamantaschen baking, crafts, carnival games, photo booths, raffle prizes, face painting, and more were in the works for March 5 at the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island, N.Y.; the Stroum Jewish Community Center of Greater Seattle, Wash.; the Weinstein JCC in Richmond, Va., where the celebration included a tikkun olam project and storytelling by renowned storyteller Noa Baum; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, N.Y., where magician Todd Nelson performed a magical escape and illusion show as part of the festivities; the Miami Beach JCC; and the Boulder JCC, which included an in-person reading of “Loud Mouse,” the book by authors and sisters Cara and Idina Menzel.
- Purim carnivals were also held on March 5 at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, N.J.; the J in Kansas City, Kan., which collaborated with other local organizations; the Barry & Florence Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, N.Y.; the York JCC in Penn., which included a puppet show presented by fifth graders from the Temple Beth Israel religious school; the Suffolk Y JCC in Commack, N.Y., where the celebration is known as Purim Palooza; the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview, N.Y.; the Edlavitch DCJCC in Washington, D.C.; in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, where the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, in Penn., partnered with PJ Library, Temple Emanuel, and Beth El Congregation for festivities; and the New Orleans JCC in La., where the event is known as Adloyada, an Aramaic phrase that means “until one no longer knows” and refers to the Purim tradition to imbibe until it is difficult to distinguish between Mordechai and Haman.
- Also on March 5, the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, N.J., hosted Purim Partners with PJ Library and the Jewish Federation of South Jersey (JFSNJ), so children could prepare mishloach manot baskets for the JFCS Kosher Food Pantry. Their parents, meanwhile, participated in adult, peer-to-peer Judaic learning with the JFSNJ’s scholar in residence, Rabbi Ephraim Epstein.
- That same day the JCC of Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted a Family Rock’n’Purim party, featuring a scavenger hunt, mishloach manot baskets, hamantaschen, and a dance party with Rock’N’Beau, an interactive children’s DJ.
- The Simon Family JCC in Virginia Beach, Va., celebrated Purim on March 5 with a special edition of Sunday Fun Day programming that included holiday-themed activities, crafts, games, and “Operation Hamantaschen,” to bake treats and hand-deliver them to Beth Sholom Village, a nearby senior community.
- On March 6 at 2 p.m., the Suffolk Y JCC offered “Sex in the City—of Shushan,” a unique unrolling and unveiling of the gantzteh megila, including the intriguing secrets of Vashti and the hidden nuances of Esther.
- In New York City on Monday, March 6, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Out at the J and JQY hosted The Vashti Ball: A Queer Purim Party, which began with a unique queer communal Megillah reading and continued with a feast of Jewish foods and kosher cocktails.
- In Scarsdale, N.Y., on March 6 at the JCC Mid-Westchester’s “Peas for Purim” event, families planted peas in the JCC’s community garden and used dried peas to fill groggers that they decorated and used in a child-friendly reading of the Purim story. Teens and tweens joined a Purim Dungeons and Dragons Game Night, roleplaying in the City of Shushan and exploring the Jewish spin on magic and monsters.
- Purim comes to the Michael-Ann Russell JCC in Miami, Fla., on March 7 and will feature a DJ, costumes, games, inflatables, face painting and more. The Sidney Albert JCC in Albany, N.Y., will hold its Purim carnival on March 8, and the Purim carnival festivities at Commonpoint Queens in Queens, N.Y., and the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh (Kaufmann Gym, JCC Squirrel Hill location) in Penn., will happen on March 12.
- On March 9, GLOE, the LGBTQ program of the Edlavitch DCJCC in Washington, D.C., will host a Purim Masquerade Party open to all, including friends, partners, allies, and community members.
Wishing everyone a chag Purim sameach that’s so much fun it’s hard to tell Mordechai from Haman!