Praying dress-up: Purim is pure fun at Brooklyn Heights temple

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Photo gallery

HOW SWEET IT IS: From left, Eduardo Pardave, Marlene Antebi, and Rivolye Alex present the stuffed pastry hamantaschen, made specially for Purim.
BIG-TIME PARTY-GOER: Allison Brustman dressed as a sumo wrestler for the occasion.
THE GOOD STUFF: Stephanie Levine scooped out cotton candy for revelers — and herself.
FREE THROW: Kids shoot hoops at the synagogue during the carnival.

Let the Purim party begin.

The Jewish holiday runs Wednesday evening through Thursday night this week, and Congregation Mount Sinai kicked things off with a carnival on Sunday. Rabbi Seth Wax said the shindig was for more people than just the members of his Cadman Plaza West synagogue.

“We’re a community organization, and we wanted to extend the celebration to the whole community,” he said.

The carnival, which Mount Sinai has hosted for more than 15 years, was a kid-friendly affair and included a bounce castle, jewelry making, an art booth, and games. Stephanie Levine ran the cotton candy machine, dishing out puffs of the pink stuff, and helping herself.

“I think I ate more than I gave out,” she said.

The sugar wound the kids up, and the other activities helped them work off the extra energy.

“They got their exercise in with the bouncy house,” Levine said. “They really had a ball.”

Purim is one of the more festive holidays on the Jewish calender, Wax said, commemorating the story of Mordecai, who supposedly foiled a plot to destroy the Jews in the Persian empire in the 4th century B.C. Costumes are a big part of the celebration, and Mount Sinai’s event drew a sumo wrestler, a clown, and a cat, among other characters. The afternoon snow kept some revelers away, but about 70 turned out for the three-hour celebration.

Levine appreciates how much work goes into events like the Purim carnival.

“The rabbi puts in a nice effort,” she said. “He really tries to make the temple better.”

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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