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B’nai Avraham and the Chabad of Brooklyn Heights celebrated Purim at the Bossert Hotel

Stars of David! Brooklyn Heights rolls out red carpet for Purim

The Brooklyn Paper
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It was the poshest Purim party in town.

A Brooklyn Heights celebration of the Jewish holiday on Saturday was an Oscar-themed bash in the penthouse of the under-renovation Bossert Hotel, which is poised to reclaim its mantle as Brooklyn’s Waldorf Astoria, complete with a red carpet. An organizer said that, lavish though the proceedings may have been, the event was all about old-fashioned religious bonding.

“Purim is about Jewish unity,” said Rabbi Aaron Raskin, whose congregation B’nai Avraham hosted the event along with the Chabad of Brooklyn Heights. “It’s about coming together to hear the word of god.”

Before the gala, congregants heard readings of the Megillah, or the Book of Esther, at the Orthodox synagogue on Remsen Street between Henry and Clinton streets. Guests then traveled around the corner to the hotel at Montague and Hicks streets for a breathtaking roof-top banquet.

“This is a spectacular venue,” said Sonia Beker, wearing a black gown and pearls and toting a fancy cigarette holder. “It’s sophisticated and fun.”

The crowd of about 250 costumed guests dined on sushi and sipped cocktails while taking in the views from 14 stories up. The space was donated to the congregation by the building’s owners, who are in the midst of refurbishing the 100-year-old hotel.

Rabbi Raskin greeted guests between songs by a live jazz band, the Josh Levinson Sextet. He reminded attendees about the obligations of Purim, beyond partying, which include giving gifts to neighbors, performing charitable acts, and listening to readings of the Megillah, which tells the story of a fellow named Mordecai who foiled a plot to kill all the Jews in the Persian empire.

The sermon was followed with a performance by guests that included jokes and a sketch loosely based on the Purim Torah reading. The show had some wanting it to go on forever.

“I wish the happiness of Purim could go all year round,” said a smiling Benzion Raskin, the rabbi’s father.

A final reading of the Megillah ended the evening.

“It was a beautiful night,” said Rabbi Raskin. “People were very inspired. It brought about great pride.”

The congregation will host its 25th anniversary dinner at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Manhattan on March 26.

Congregation B’nai Avraham 25th Anniversary dinner at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl. at First Place in Manhattan, www.bnaiavraham.com). March 26. $275.

Updated 2:02 pm, March 18, 2014
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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