Fun and laughter were the order of the day as the Bay Ridge Jewish Center (BRJC) welcomed around 120 people — many in costume — to its annual Purim celebration.
As many as 60 costumed children were among the crowd that attended the Wednesday, March 23 Purim party at the BRJC, 405 81st Street, including 12 to 15 “totally new families or individuals,” according to Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, the synagogue’s spiritual leader.
The day’s agenda included a costume parade, arts and crafts, singing, music and a multi-media interactive visual presentation that told the story of Purim in a way that kept the children engaged.
There were also Hamantashen to eat, said Rosenberg. Traditionally, the pastry’s triangular shape is meant to signify the hat of Haman, the anti-Semitic adviser to King Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther, which tells the story of Purim. The Hamantashen also represent pockets, a reference to Haman’s attempts to buy over people and the importance of not giving in to that.
Purim is really about teaching children and adults alike about “Recognizing the importance of standing up for what you believe in,” Rosenberg pointed out, “It’s about being comfortable with who you are.” The wearing of costumes comes from the idea that people often disguise their true selves, and Purim is about taking off that mask and showing who you really are.
The story of Purim is also the story of triumph of good over evil, as Esther, who has become Ahasuerus’s queen, manages to defeat Haman’s plan to kill all the Jews in ancient Persia.
“It’s a joyful, celebratory holiday. Things can be bad in our world but we can still try to make the world better,” Rosenberg stressed.