Saturday evening, March 11, the Bay Ridge Jewish Center (BRJC) hosted a celebration for the Jewish holiday of Purim in its newly renovated ballroom.
Purim is a holiday that is celebrated by members of the Jewish community to commemorate the story told in the Book of Esther, in which Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordecai saved the Jewish people from annihilation in ancient Persia. As recorded in the Book of Esther, the King of Persia was in love with Esther, but did not know she was Jewish, and made her queen. Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, the king’s advisor. This caused Haman to plot to kill all of the Jews. Esther, after being persuaded by Mordecai, intercedes on behalf of the Jewish people, and convinces the King to stop Haman – saving the Jewish people.
Rabbi Dina Rosenberg from the Bay Ridge Jewish Center sees the lessons found in the Book of Esther as increasingly relevant in the midst of the turmoil our world faces today. “We must speak out against hate, anti-Semitism and support the minorities within our communities,” she said.
Purim is a joyous celebration, she said, because “the Jewish people stood up to an abuse of political power and persevered until they changed their own fate.”
The celebration at the Jewish Center truly was joyous, as over 125 attendees dressed up in costumes not only of biblical characters, but also various figures in popular culture. The Story of Esther, referred to as the Megillah, was read aloud and accompanied by classic songs by The Beatles. For drink were also served, in particular traditional Hamentashen, which is a jelly filled triangular cookie. All ages enjoyed various activities at the event, which also included games, arts & crafts and origami.
Keeping in the spirit of the lessons learned from The Story of Esther, children from the BRJC’s Hebrew School collected money to donate to selected charities as well as a Passover Food Drive with City Harvest.
BRJC is located at 405 81st Street.