Purim on the Upper West Side

Purim is a Jewish holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia, from a man named Haman’s evil plan to eradicate all of the Jewish people in a single day, as told by the Megillah, or book of Esther. In modern days, the holiday of Purim is one of liveliness and fun, of jolliness and high spirits.

It is a day to let loose and celebrate Judaism. Adults and children often dress up in costumes, (explained here) and enjoy eating traditional food, namely hamantaschen, a three cornered pastry, filled with jam, chocolate, or something savory, to symbolize the three cornered hat that Haman infamously wore.On the day before Purim, it is customary to fast, commemorating Esther’s fasting, as told in the Megillah. The complete story of Purim can be read here.

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Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar, typically in the late winter or early spring. This year, Purim beings on March 20th and continues through the 21st.

The Upper West Side is celebrating the fun holiday with a slew of events and festivities!

Manhattan Jewish Experience

131 West 86th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)

MJE will be celebrating throughout the holiday and in the days leading up to it. On March 11th, they’ll be holding a Purim 101 Workshop for those in their 20s and 30s to learn about Purim, and will also be holding a Megillah reading and costume contest.  According to their website, they’ll also have explanatory Megillah readings on the 20th and 21st, and a pre-Purim Happy Hour.

 

Chabad on the West Side

166 West 97th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)

Chabad on the West Side is holding plenty of Megillah readings for those interested in hearing the story of Purim, including Megillah readings for children. Their readings begin on Wednesday March 20th, and continue on the 21st. Check here for the complete schedule. Chabad on the West Side is also holding an “Under the Sea” themed Purim party, with a children’s and adult’s Purim Megillah reading, open bar, live music, and ice cream and sushi. RSVP in advance for a discounted price, or purchase tickets the day of the event. All of the information can be found here.

 

Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

334 Amsterdam Ave (at 76th Street)

The JCC is also holding a variety of events for children and adults who wish to celebrate Purim. They’ll be holding an LGBTQ Purim Ball, and family Purim carnivals, among other events. Visit their website here for all events.

 

West End Synagogue

190 Amsterdam Ave (at 69th Street)

The West End Synagogue will be holding a Purim Carnival on March 20th at 5 PM to celebrate the special holiday. They encourage attendees to dress in costume – there will be karaoke, face painting, games, and food, along with a family friendly Megillah reading and a Purim shpiel for adults.

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Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus)

The Modern Orthodox synagogue will be holding a grand feast known as a Seudah, just before the end of Purim, on March 21st. There will be grilling a stand up comedian, music, and dancing. Read more here.

 

Congregation Rodeph Sholom

7 West 83rd Street

This year’s shpiel is a spoof of the Greatest Showman on March 20th at 4:30pm. Afterwards there will be a Megillah reading, carnival, and a teen Purim Party.

On the 21st, a service will begin at 8am, and on the 23rd at 11am, there will be an interactive musical experience designed to be accessible and sensitive to a variety of needs (it will be ASL interpreted).

More info here.

 

Eating for Purim

Is your favorite part of Purim the hamantaschen? We recommend checking out these places for traditional Purim treats:

Hungarian Pastry Shop in Morningside Heights (1030 Amsterdam Ave.) – Stop by their cute cafe for an apricot, poppy, walnut, or prune hamantashen.

Zabar’s (2245 Broadway) – Zabar’s always stocks beautiful Purim baskets, perfect for gift-giving, and delicious hamantashen.

Orwashers (440 Amsterdam Ave.) – Shop at Orwashers for sweet Purim treats.

Breads Bakery (1890 Broadway) – The original Breads Bakery is in Union Square, but you can still get your fill of delicious hamantashen at this location, near Lincoln Center.

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Hannah Rosenfield

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Hannah Rosenfield is an avid writer and new resident of the Upper West Side. She graduated from Binghamton University in May of 2018, after studying Creative Writing and works in advertising. In her free time, Hannah loves reading the New York Times food section, petting all the dogs on the Upper West Side, and strolling through Central Park.

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