One Kensington synagogue has figured out the key to young people’s hearts: Purim parties.
The Flatbush Jewish Center threw a Purim gala filled with Israeli dancing that was as spirited as the story behind the holiday — and the synagogue found itself filled with the young couples and children it is trying to attract to the congregation.
“It was wonderful to have all these young couples with children!” said Edith Linn, a member of the synagogue’s board of directors, who also brought her two grandchildren. “We’ve been working to attract a new membership and get younger folks to join the synagogue — but this was beyond our expectations as far as turnout.”
The little ones in particular turned out in force — and elaborate costumes.
There were dress-up staples like bumble bees, clowns, and princesses — and even some current event-inspired outfits like a family of angry birds, and a little boy dressed up as a SWAT team member.
Costumes, dancing, good food, and drinks are timeless ways to celebrate the holiday — which commemorates the age-old defeat of Haman, an evil Persian court advisor who sought to eliminate the Jewish people in fourth-century Persia — and while Jewish people may have survived, the synagogue says it’s the tradition that now needs to be kept alive.
“We need to attract young couples,” said Linn. “Many of the members are 70 years old and above. We’re looking to find ways to make sure to get there for the next generation.”
The lively festivities, which included homemade hamentashen — three-cornered cookies filled with fruit or poppy seeds — appear to have won over one young couple, who said they weren’t religious but made the trek with their two children, Yoav and Omer.
“I’m not religious, but I enjoy the activities that they do,” said Hital Lipskin, whose daughter was a Smurfette. “It was a really good party!”