Hundreds of giddy, costumed children packed the Kings Bay YM-YWHA’s gymnasium for its Annual Purim Carnival, an exciting indoor festival commemorating the Jewish people of ancient Persia’s rescue from annihilation at the hands of the evil Haman, as told in the Hebrew “Book of Esther.”
Kids of all ages were decked out in a variety of costumes, including Harry Potter, Scooby Doo, Strawberry Shortcake and even President Barack Obama. For those who call it the Hebrew Halloween, there was also a gory, innards-exposed surgeon to take delight in.
As the adage goes when one inquires of the meaning behind Purim, it is customary to respond: “They tried to kill us, we won — let’s eat!” That proved true, as there was no shortage of pizza, soft drinks and free hamantashen cookies to munch on for the inexhaustible pint-sized revelers who—when not running around the gym — jumped up and down on giant inflatable bouncy rides, created sand art, played carnival games, and had their faces painted.
As Jewish music played from a loudspeaker, throngs of festive frolickers were also wowed by a professional stilt walker, magician, and silly characters such as the Purim Bird and the Purim Gorilla. Kids were also kept on edge with a costume contest and a particularly frenetic (and only slightly gross) nail-biter of a hamantashen eating competition.
Representatives from area businesses and Jewish organizations lined the gym and interacted with the community, while local pols such as Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Igor Oberman, Borough President Marty Markowitz’s liaison to the Russian-American community, met with constituents. A surprise appearance was also made by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who — in awe of all the costumed children having fun — quipped that “Manhattan should have more events like this.”