Chabad of Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh's Purim celebration turns back time


Keeping with tradition of creating incredibly fun and exciting holiday programs for the entire Jewish community, the Chabad of Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh hosted its 17th annual Purim celebration on March 7.

Purim celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an official of the first Persian empire, who was planning to have all of Persia’s Jewish subjects killed. The earliest observances of Purim are believed to have taken place in the 5th century, and the holiday is usually celebrated in March.

This year’s party had a 60s theme, and combined Jewish traditions with a fun throwback feel. “Every year, there’s a fun theme to make the Purim celebration even more exciting and memorable,” Rabbi Shimon Kramer said in a release.

Queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian King Xerxes, is credited as the heroine in the Purim story, alongside her cousin Mordecai, for saving the Jewish people. Today, the holiday is celebrated by reading the Book of Esther — or the Megillah — and by completing five mitzvot, or commandments.

These mitzvot include attending a Megillah reading during the evening on the day Purim begins and attending a second reading the following morning. The additional mitzvot include giving gifts to the poor, doing the same for friends and family members, and enjoying a traditional Purim feast. 

Purim is a festive day of merrymaking, and is a time for those celebrating to dress up in costumes. Wearing of costumes allows these seeking help to dress up and hide their identities while collecting charity. In this way, their dignity is best preserved.