Purim was Out of this World!

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Kayla Goldenberg

Sophomore Ariel Brudoley happily accepts  a pie to the face as part of the Purim Carnival. Photo by Lauren Hassan.
Sophomore Ariel Brudoley happily accepts a pie to the face as part of the Purim Carnival. Photo by Lauren Hassan.

March 5 was one of the most exciting days of the 2014-2015 school year at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA). With masks, costumes, treats, and a carnival, there was one name for this excitement: Purim!

“Purim is one of my favorite times of the year,” says freshman Sarah Caplan. ”I loved going to the carnival in lower school, and I was so excited that I got to work it this year.” A typical Purim celebration at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy consists of the following festivities: a Megillah reading with the entire school present and a carnival, along with a middle school mitzvah trip. Lastly, Purim was a half day at Hyman Brand, so the students could continue the festivities with their friends and family.

This holiday was also a time of giving. On Purim, it is a tradition to give gifts of fruit and Hamantashen (triangle shaped cookies with a filling) to friends, family, and those in need. This act of kindness is precisely what the middle school did on their mitzvah trip. Each grade brought in different components of the gift, like chocolates, oranges, or juice. The term for this gift is Mishloach Manot, meaning “sending of portions,” and this tradition is meant to enforce that everyone should enjoy one of the happiest Jewish occasions. Along with Mishloach Manot, another good deed to do on Purim is Matanot LaEvyonim, literally meaning “giving to the poor.” With their gifts, the middle schoolers made their way to Village Shalom to visit the residents and sing traditional Purim songs.

The acts of kindness did not stop there. The high schoolers also did some giving on Purim. Each year, high school students from HBHA throw a carnival for the lower school students, and is often a sight that is almost magical. This tradition has been in action for decades at HBHA. The themes of the carnivals in the past have included “Disney,” “Super Heroes,” “Jungle,” “Wild West,” “Around the World,” and last year’s “HBHA Olympics.” This year’s theme, “HBHA is Out of this World,” had never been done before.. High Schoolers dressed up as astronauts, aliens, characters from Star Trek, characters from Star Wars, and everything in between. When asked about the carnival, upper school teacher Dr. Edna Levy said, ”I thought it was very well organized and I was impressed by how smoothly it ran.” Dr. Levy was especially impressed by the high schoolers that took pies to the face in one of the carnival games.

For the lower schoolers, costumes were definitely out of this world. Some students came as the traditional Purim characters like Esther and Mordechai, but others came as princesses, cowboys, super heroes, or even minions. Lower school students often think outside the box when it comes to Purim costumes.

Lower schoolers expressed how much they miss the Purim carnival, “I’m really sad it’s over, but I can’t wait till next year!” said second grader Justin Parmet. Students won’t have to worry because Purim is on the calendar every year, and it gets better and better every year.