Kids celebrate Purim at Shorefront Y

Fun and games: Gabriel Brekman, 3, plays ring toss during the joyous Jewish celebration.
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These kids have a passion for Purim!

Costume-clad kids sang, danced, and shook ceremonial toys at the Purim Carnival at the Shorefront Y in Brighton Beach on Feb. 25. The celebration of the Jewish holiday, which commemorates the survival of Jews in ancient Persia, was open to anyone young or old who wanted to partake in the joyous festivities, according to the Jewish community center’s marketing director.

“It’s a fun Jewish holiday,” said Ilona Lyubashevsky. “We invite the whole community and make it free for all to join.”

Around 200 people came out to the carnival this year, which is a bigger turnout than usual for the annual event, according to Lyubashevsky.

“It was a great turnout,” she said. “Everyone had a good time.”

The Shorefront Y seeks to not only entertain, but educate the children on Purim’s history with the fun and games.

Purim celebrates the failure of Haman, a wicked adviser to the King of Persia, to execute his plan to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. His sinister plot was ultimately foiled by the Jewish Queen of Persia, Esther, and her cousin Mordecai, according to the biblical book of Esther, which is often referred to on Purim as the “megillah” a word derived Yiddish meaning “scroll” or “volume.”

The children used traditional twisty toys called groggers to sound the alarm about Haman’s plan. The toys make a loud noise when shaken.

“We tell them when we read the megillah, after hearing the word ‘Haman’ they’re supposed to make the noise,” said Lyubashevsky.

Other activities the kids did included arts and crafts, basketball, singing, dancing, a ring-toss game, and making cookies called hamantaschen, which translates to “Haman’s ears,” according to the Shorefront Y’s Facebook page.

Children traditionally dress up in costume for Purim, which is sometimes compared to Halloween. This year most of the kids took the opportunity to paint their faces and put on creative outfits of princesses, firemen, monsters, and more.

“This year a majority of the kids dressed up,” said Lyubashevsky. “It’s not a requirement, but it makes it more fun.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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