JASA Celebrates Purim with a Masquerade Party

A carnival-like atmosphere filled the JASA Starrett Senior Center as members commemorated the Jewish holiday of Purim (March 4) with a masquerade themed party.

Seniors donned colorful masks and partied all morning to musical and theatrical entertainment by Hagit and Zvi Avon, and enjoyed delicious traditional Jewish snacks and party favors. “It was so colorful, funny and overall entertaining; from beginning to end it was a hoot,” exclaimed longtime JASA member Jean Robertson, who concluded the party with a stellar rendition of “God Bless America.”

“We wanted to try something fun and different this year,” said Anjelika Sulayananov, JASA’s Group Case Worker. Many of the seniors appreciated that the party followed the occasion’s Jewish traditions, like eating Hamantoshen, a scrumptious cookie with a jelly center, and retelling the story of Esther.

Purim commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia, where they escaped extermination. The story takes place in 4th century BCE, when emperor Ahasuerus fell in love and married a young Jewish girl named Esther, but she never revealed her religion. Many Jewish people wear costumes and masks to symbolize Esther concealing her heritage.

Under the king’s rule was a cruel advisor named Haman, who plotted to eradicate all Jews, however, Queen Esther stepped in to save them. She fasted for three days so that God would recognize her plea for help. She confessed her secret to the emperor, who then made a decree that Jews may fight against any anti-Semitic Persian. On the 13th of Adar, the Jews mobilized to kill their enemies, and the next day they celebrated. Since then the holiday has been known as Purim.

By Amanda Moses