Thousands of Jews in shuls up and down the country will be donning fancy dress and dusting down trumpets, rattles and drums to participate in Purim festivities this week-end.
A sense of excitement was beginning to gather momentum across the community as the big day draws near, with shuls large and small preparing for fun and games
And with two bites at the cherry – motzei Shabbat and on Sunday – shuls are set for a bumper
week-end packed with festivities.
While some parents will be brave enough to put on fancy dress, the focus will be on making sure their children have costumes to match the occasion in readiness for the annual barrage of noise.
Young people will be very well looked after in London, where Tribe is organising two major events.
Moshe Fehler, Tribe youth director at Bushey United synagogue, said: “We are expecting between 100 and 200 people for our two events.
“First, on motzei Shabbat, we will be taking a group in school years six to nine to Megajump, which is a major trampoline arena. Then on Sunday, there will be a boat party for year 10-plus.”
Mr Fehler said young people from seven US synagogues will be coming together to participate in the activities. They are Bushey, Muswell Hill, Radlett, Borehamwood, South Hampstead, Pinner and Southgate.
Synagogues uniting is the theme in Leeds, where the three main synagogues are working together for the first time to produce a Purim extravaganza for their respective communities.
The United Hebrew Congregation, Etz Chaim and Beth Hamidrash Hagadol (BHH) are pooling their resources to produce a week-end of activities.
BHH’s Rabbi Jason Kleiman said: “There was a strong feeling from a sizeable proportion of the communities that we can achieve far more working together than we can working individually.
“As it is at the moment, each shul has its own successful activities. It was felt that by joining forces we could do something bigger and better and more unifying for the benefit of everybody.”
UHC will be host motzei Shabbat with a big fancy-dress party for all ages. On Sunday, Etz Chaim and UHC step up to the plate. Etz is putting on a three-course Mediterranean seudah with table magic plus a street entertainer and as children’s fancy dress parade, while UHC’s entertainment starts in the afternoon. Also on Sunday, participants are being invited to “escape from Haman’s prison to save the Jewish people” helped, of course, by plenty of food and refreshments.
Further south in Birmingham, Solihull, Singers Hill and Birmingham Central and Andrew Cohen House and synagogue will all be holding seudot on Sunday.
In north London Woodside Park United synagogue will be holding “Purim spiel or no spiel”, a twist on the television game show, following the megillah reading. In this version, members of the community will be up against a three-minute egg timer to talk about a topic and answer questions from the audience. The audience then has to decide at the end whether what the speaker says is true or false. On Sunday, there’s a mad hatter’s tea party aimed more at younger congregants.
Education organisation seed will be holding a Sunday morning programme aimed primarily at youngsters, starting with a special Purim breakfast, followed by face painting, a photo-booth and an under-eights fancy dress competition.
The Western Marble Arch will celebrate motzei Shabbat with Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld and Chazan Berdugo’s animated megillah readings. This will be followed by a huge celebration in the Montcalm Ballroom with delicious food, an open bar and a performance from the LED dancing duo.
On Sunday morning, Western Marble Arch will be joined on Sunday by the Central and New West End synagogues to hear the megillah reading by Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld, followed by a family seudah brunch and a children’s fancy dress parade.