Purim on the Upper West Side
It’s about time for Purim on the Upper West Side! Purim is the most festive of all Jewish holidays. The joyous celebration originates from the ancient story told in the Book of Esther. This year, the Upper West Side is ready to get the party started with tons of family-friendly carnivals and events. Read our guide below to know what events will be taking place and find out where can you eat the best hamantaschen in town!
The Next Level with Rabbi Mark Wildes: Behind the Mask of Purim – March 8, 8pm
Manhattan Jewish Experience
131 W. 86th St.
Learn all about the holiday of Purim by attending this special event hosted by the Manhattan Jewish Experience. Rabbi Mark Wildes will lead the talk and explain how Purim came to be. He will explore the holiday’s origins as well as many of its underlying themes in depth. Wildes founded the MJE in 1998 with the purpose of creating a social community for young Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s. The organization holds a variety of special dinners and other events year-round. Check out the link below to learn about their upcoming schedule of programs.
Purim in Wonderland – March 12, 10.30am
Chabad of the West Side
166 W. 97th St.
The Chabad of the West Side, with the help of Chabad Early Learning Center, is hosting one of this year’s most exciting Purim parties. The family-friendly event, called “Purim in Wonderland”, will kick off at 10.30am with a megillah reading for kids. Half an hour later, children will be invited to attend the rabbit’s fall down through the rabbit hole. The fall down will be followed by a bunch of kid-friendly activities. These will include magic workshops, tea parties, bouncing castles, and even an appearance or two by the Mad Hatters. “Purim in Wonderland” promises to be a wonderful time for the whole family!
Ganze Megillah Exhibit
334 Amsterdam Ave.
Head towards the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at the JCC Manhattan for a unique exhibit in honor of Purim. The exhibit features a large reproduction of an illuminated Scroll of Esther. The scroll depicts the story of Esther through a unique painting style that combines Persian, Indian, and Islamic elements to create an original piece of art. The painter of this piece, Avner Moriah, also incorporates some of the style from the Italian Renaissance era. The name for this exhibit is called Ganze Megillah which stands for “The Whole Story” in Yiddish. A total of 18 manuscripts are presently displayed at the gallery and together they represent the collective movement of more than one million brushstrokes.
Purim Day Carnival – March 12, 10.30am
251 W. 100th St.
Ansche Chesed by jim.henderson_wikicommons
Ansche Chesed, meaning “People of Kindness” in Yiddish, is an Upper West Side conservative synagogue. The congregation was founded in 1828 and has a one-of-a-kind building that was styled after the Byzantine Revival period. They have a school that serves to children enrolled in grades K through 7. The students at the school receive a Jewish education that’s heavily focused on the arts through topics as varied as creative writing, music, and painting. The congregation is socially progressive and welcomes those of different backgrounds. Bring your little ones along and meet other like-minded people at their Purim Carnival.
Family Purim Celebration – March 11, 5.45pm
257 W. 88th St.
At B’NAI Jeshurun’s Purim celebration, children ages six and under are welcome to come dress up and attend in their favorite costume. There will be a bunch of activities for them to enjoy at the carnival including a fun parade, a kid-friendly reading of the megillah, and a silly spiel spectacle. Foods, snacks, and drinks will also be served. The event is free to attend for both members and non-members of the congregation. B’NAI Jeshurun was founded in 1825 and in doing so became the second Jewish religious institution to ever open its doors in the state of New York. The synagogue was added to the list of U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Hamantaschen and other pastries
The Hungarian Pastry Shop
1030 Amsterdam Ave.
Purim Day would not be complete without tasting some of the delicious hamantaschen. The Hungarian Pastry Shop is the perfect spot for such sweet occassion. This Upper West Side bakery offers authentic Eastern European baked treats in a cozy environment. Their hamantaschen are made fresh and have a nuanced walnut flavor to them. Some other of their specialties, such as the Florentines and the baklavas, are both extra crispy and extremely irresistible. The family-run shop sits right across from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and offers close access to Columbia University. If the weather’s nice enough, you can enjoy your treat in their outdoor seating space.
Purim Day Carnival – March 11, 5pm
West End Synagogue
190 Amsterdam Ave.
The Purim Day Carnival at West End Synagogue will kick things off at 5pm with a colorful carnival parade. The rest of the event will be followed by a series of activities and fun shenanigans that the whole family can enjoy. Children will surely get a kick out of the kid-friendly megillah reading and the imaginative purim shpiell hosted by Wes Players. There will be lots of refreshments and snacks (including hamanstashen pastries) served throughout the evening.
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Edgar is a a film fanatic, a food lover, and an Upper West Side enthusiast. After working in PR and marketing in Chicago, he is pursuing his dream of becoming a writer. He loves photography and on his spare time you can find him hiking or biking the great outdoors (while also snapping some pretty awesome Instagram pics!).