(New York Jewish Week) – The festive Jewish holiday of Purim begins this year on the evening of Monday, March 6. A marker of Jewish pride and survival, the day celebrates the triumph of Queen Esther, who saved the Jewish people of Shushan in Persia from Haman by advocating for them to her husband, King Achashverosh.
In honor of the day, Jewish communities around the world will read the megillah, or Scroll of Esther; eat triangle-shaped hamantaschen cookies or sticky debla, make noise with graggers, give mishloach manot (care packages) to friends and family, perform satiric “spiels” and dress up in costumes for synagogue and parties.
Keep reading for the New York Jewish Week’s round-up of how to have the best holiday possible, including dancing, hearing a megillah reading, heading to a comedy show or engaging in a deep dive of the history of the holiday. Our list includes virtual and free events as well as in-person parties.
Flamingggtaschen: A Queer Jewish Purim Party
Join “Flaminggg,” a Queer Jewish nightlife experience, for their second-ever Purim party at 3 Dollar Bill in East Williamsburg (270 Meserole St.) on Saturday, March 4. The event, which runs from 9 p.m. on Saturday to 4 a.m. on Sunday, is aimed towards queer Jews and will include a Purim spiel, drag performances, DJs and dancing. Tickets from $30. More information here.
Family Purim Concert
For young families, get in the spirit of Purim at 92NY’s Family Purim Concert hosted by Rebecca Schoffer, the 92NY’s director of Jewish family engagement. Schoffer will be joined by a live band for a musical retelling of the Purim story on Sunday, March 5 at 10 a.m. Afterwards, schmooze and nosh on hamantaschen. Tickets from $36. More information here.
Mordechai the Villain: The Shocking Story Behind Drinking on Purim
Join our partner site My Jewish Learning and Rabbi Ayalon Eliach to talk about why drinking on Purim has become part of the tradition of the holiday. “This class will offer an accessible behind-the-scenes tour of the origins of the custom to drink alcohol on Purim,” according to the listing. “It will challenge assumptions about good and evil, what Purim is all about, and what it means to be Jewish.” The free lecture will take place on Zoom at 12:00 p.m. on March 6. Register here.
The History of the Purim Spiel with Motl Didner and The Workers Circle
The Purim spiel, which retells the Purim story and can be performed as a comedy, political commentary or act of celebration (or all three!) is a major part of the holiday’s festivities. Join The Workers Circle on Monday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. to learn about the history of the Purim spiel as “the earliest form of Yiddish theater.” The Yiddish and English Zoom event is free and will feature “videos, photographs, and artistic representations from the Renaissance through the present day,” according to their website. Register here.
Purim on Park with The Altneu
Join the new-ish Altneu congregation in support of United Hatzalah at this banquet, concert and megillah reading. The party, which will take place at 583 Park Avenue, includes performances by singer Shulem Lemmer and rapper Nissim Black and feature food by Mark David Catering. Mincha (afternoon prayers) begins at 5:30 p.m., with a megillah reading at 6:30 p.m. on March 6. Tickets are complimentary for Altneu members and start at $180 for non-members. Find more information here.
Purim Around the World with Kehillat Ashreynu
Join Kehillat Ashreynu in Astoria, Queens for “a polyglot Purim story.” Co-sponsored by the Jewish Languages Project, the event will feature portions of the megillah read in Spanish, Russian, Ladino and more — as well as a celebration of languages, art, history and music of Jewish communities around the world. A happy hour at Madame Marie’s (35-15 Broadway) will begin at 6 p.m. preceding the free megillah reading — also available livestreamed — at 7 p.m. Afterwards, stay for a party at Grove 34 (31-83 34th St). Party tickets from $18. RSVP is required. Find more information here.
Purim 7: From the Crown Down with Lab/Shul
Lab/Shul, the experimental, “God-optional” and artist-driven congregation, hosts a Purim party this year at Bushwick’s House of Yes (2 Wycoff Ave.). Described as “a Prophetic, Phantasmagorical, Post-Patriarchal, Purim Performance Party,” the evening begins at 6:30 p.m. on March 6 with a ritual theater experience and performance that will retell the Purim story through ancient and modern myths. A dance party will follow at 10 p.m. Tickets from $55. Find more information here.
The Vashti Ball with JQY
After selling out last year, Jewish Queer Youth is bringing back The Vashti Ball this year at HK Hall (605 West 48th St.) which can accommodate up to 1000 attendees. Starting at 6:30 p.m. on March 6, the event is open to all ages and will include a “Drag Queen Story Hour” for the megillah reading, a kosher Persian feast, drag performances, disco dancing, a full bar for 21+ and a costume contest with the opportunity to win tickets to “Six: The Musical.” Megillah reading is free; tickets for the party start at $18. Find more information here.
A Purim Comedy Show at 92NY
For those who just want to laugh, popular Jewish comedians Matthew Broussard, Pamela Rae Schuller and Elon Altman will join emcee Michelle Slonim for a stand-up comedy show at 92NY on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $36 and the venue has a cash bar. Get tickets here.
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Megillah and Party at Temple Emanu-El
On March 6 at 7:30 p.m, Temple Emanu-El will host a megillah reading and Purim party including a live performance from The Maccabeats, a hamantaschen bar with The Nosher’s Shannon Sarna and a DJ set by Ann Streichman. The Purim story will be read from what Emanu-El claims is “the Guiness World record for the longest Megillah.” The megillah reading can be livestreamed for free. Tickets for the party, including food and cocktails, start at $45. Find more information here.
Nightlife events with J-Vibe
Maybe you just want to use the holiday as an excuse to hit the club. That’s your prerogative! Luckily, J-Vibe has got your back. Throughout the week, the Jewish nightlife events company is hosting and co-hosting Purim parties at clubs in the city, from “Purim in a Dream” at Blue Midtown (220 West 44th St.) on Saturday night to “Purim in Color” at Nebula (135 West 41st St.) on Thursday, March 9. Tickets generally start at $18. Check out the options here.