BY AMANDA MOSES
March 23rd marked an evening of colorful masks, costumes, delicious pastry treats and music for all those who celebrate Purim. This Jewish holiday is one of the most fun and joyous occasions because it celebrates the heroic story of Queen Esther. This tale, often recited in front of a synagogue’s congregation at sunset or in a family’s home, is about how the Jewish people escaped extermination from the Persian Empire and won against their enemies despite being vastly outnumbered.
The tale begins in 4th century B.C.E, when emperor Ahasuerus fell in love and married a young Jewish girl named Esther, but she never revealed her religious background. The emperor’s cruel advisor, Haman, plotted to eradicate all Jews, starting with Mordecai (Queen’s Esther’s cousin and leader of the Jews). He convinced Ahasuerus to issue the extermination decree. Haman chose the execution date, the 13th of Adar, through a lottery—hence the name Purim, which means “lots.”
When Queen Esther learned of this evil plot, she prayed and fasted for three days so that God would recognize her plea for help. She gathered her courage and confessed her secret to the emperor, who then hanged Haman and made a decree that Jews may fight against their enemies. On the 13th of Adar, the Jews mobilized to kill their enemies, and the next day they celebrated.
In honor of this fun-filled holiday, JASA Starrett Senior Center hosted a party in the lower level of the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC). March 23rd, was an afternoon of laughter, music and dancing for JASA members. The BSC’s multipurpose room was covered in colorful decorations, intricate masks and jam-packed with seniors. In addition to all of the festivities, there were musical performances by musician and DJ, Michael Minsky.
“It was a wonderful day! We had so many seniors and the music was great,” said JASA Director Anjelika Sulayananov. Since the senior center has a diverse membership, Sulayananov decided to combine the celebration with their quarterly birthday party. All of those who were born in January, February and March were given goodie bags and other treats.
“Everything was absolutely amazing. The DJ played different songs, each one upbeat and fun, and everyone had so much fun dancing together,” said JASA member, Kathaline Gayle. “I love to see older folks, like myself, having fun and dancing. It just brings so much joy to my heart watching everyone have a good time.” Photos by Amanda Moses