By Talia Levin ‘20
From megillah readings to mishloach manot to parties around the city, Heschel students engaged in a plethora of activities on Purim night.
Talia Horn, a freshman, attended the B’nai Jeshurun megillah reading. “They had a drag queen to make it more fun,” Horn recounted. “It was interesting.” The drag queen gave a D’var Megillah speech and later sang. Afterward, Horn made mishloach manot with her family and drove around handing them out to friends.
Abby Finkle, a junior, opted to stay home and bake hamantashen with six other Heschel students. They did not go to megillah reading but went to Party City to buy last minute costumes.
Senior Josh Epstein attended his synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he co-hosted the live Purim spiel. It was in the style of the Saturday Night Live weekend updates. He reported that there were “a lot of good jokes. The older folks loved it a lot. The delivery was spot on and received very well by the synagogue population.” On whether hosting the Purim spiel was a recurring event, Epstein stated,“I didn’t do it last year, but I did it the year before that and the year before that as well.” Last year he skipped out in order to keep up with the work of junior year.
Sophomores Ally Lax and Rena Falah went to a party in Brooklyn. There were about fifty attendees when they arrived, and that number had doubled when they left. More people arrived afterwards. They spent the time “dancing and talking to friends,” Lax said. They both dressed in costumes.
Many Heschel students from all grades flocked to a party in Manhattan attended by students of Jewish schools in the area. The party was hosted by a group of students who have previously hosted a successful party in Queens. Junior Neve Benyamin believes this is the first year they tried to host on in Manhattan. However, this year’s party was not especially enjoyable for many Heschel students. Benyamin had purchased an online $30 ticket to attend the party. Before the party, she had met up with some Heschel students to make their way there. Benyamin remarked, “When we got there, there was chaos and people all over the street. All of those two blocks… that’s when things seemed off. There were too many people there.” The group was unable to actually enter the party, due to the number of attendees. Benyamin and her friends regrouped and returned to their friend’s house. Benyamin said she had an enjoyable time anyway just being with friends and going to a diner later that night. After the party, she and a friend used Instagram to direct-message the boy who hosted in order to point out that the venue listed a much smaller capacity than the number of people there. In response, he claimed the hosts had factored that in, despite selling twice the amount of tickets that the capacity allowed. He blamed the overcrowded atmosphere on the general chaos. Students have not received a refund for the party.
Heschel students generally enjoyed their varied activities the night of Purim before attending school festivities the next day.