Packed Purim parties show growth of our communities

28 March 2024 – 18 Adar II 5784

Progressive communities around the country enjoyed fetes, spiels, fancy dress parades, parties, Megillah readings and more this Purim.

Many of our Reform and Liberal congregations enjoyed record attendances as the festival was celebrated in true Progressive style.

At Bromley Reform Synagogue, 250 people – including more than 100 potential new members – attended a Barbie-themed party and Megillah reading, including food, music and lots of fun games.

There was also something for everyone this Purim at Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue – including a sing and sensory baby class, Wonka-themed family extravaganza, Choir of Ha-Man pub party, chocolate vodka cook-along and a chance to use a brand new Megillah. The celebrations were dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Neil Kraft.

Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue had a children’s party, storytelling and spiel, as well as an adult fancy dress competition and the traditional reading of the Megillah in six different languages – Hebrew, Ladino, Spanish, German, French and Chinese: one chapter each.

More than 150 people attended the Purim Spiel at East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue – which this year transported Esther to the 1990s. The play was followed by a fancy dress parade for all ages, compered by Rabbi Richard Jacobi.

Showed the vibrancy of Jewish life in Redbridge and Essex, another 150 people packed into Oaks Lane Reform Synagogue to see Esther Poppins ‘snap’ into action and remind the community to be proud of their Jewish identities.

Sinai Synagogue
in Leeds had over 100 people join for a two-day Purim event, including a family-friendly carnival with live music, fancy dress, Megillah reading and food - all accompanied by talented Klezmer musicians.

Nottingham Liberal Synagogue
’s spiel was Mordechood and the Merry Menschen with characters including Maid Esther, The Sheriff of NottingHaman, Bubbe Vashti and Rabbi Tuck.

Radlett Reform Synagogue
celebrated Purim with a fun-filled morning. Little ones arrived to make masks, groggers and puppets ahead of the Megillah reading. Following this, there was a Purim Carnival, with fairground games, quizzes and candy floss, as well as a pop-up café (with proceeds going to Kisharon and Borehamwood Food Bank) and a study session for adults.

A Purim Spectacular at Kingston Liberal Synagogue saw the shul hall full of families re-enacting the story and looking at how to use its values to support good causes today, including raising money for Jewish Women’s Aid and homelessness charity Spear.

Finchley Reform Synagogue
had an amazing weekend celebrating Purim as a community. On Erev Purim, members indulged in some pizza and prosecco alongside a hilarious and musical spiel, before an amazing Purim Carnival on Sunday morning welcoming hundreds of people.

Kol Chai Reform Synagogue
had a double Purim celebration. On Erev Purim, there was a comedy and drag night, with David Lewis compering and drag queen Majik with a K. On Purim morning, the congregation baked hamantaschen, packed mishloach manot and watched the community’s teenagers perform the Purim Spiel ‘The Loudest Party’.

At The Liberal Synagogue Elstree, the community dressed up, ate, played and danced. Highlights were an Israeli dancing session and a discussion about the women in the Megillah, including raising money for Jewish Women’ Aid.

The community at Shenfield & Brentwood Reform Synagogue dressed up for Purim – with members of all ages enjoying a meaningful and fun festival service.

The children at Southend and District Reform Synagogue – along with teacher Eli Klein – dressed up to perform the Purim story for members of the community.

Totnes Jewish Community
enjoyed a lively Purim celebration this year with over 40 people in attendance, live klezmer music, hearty song, delicious food, and high spirited dancing all round.

Finchley Progressive Synagogue
centred their Purim on ensuring the community’s children could feel the joy of the festival with celebrations including a musical spiel by its brilliant musicians and families and children performing the Megillah.

North Herts Progressive Jewish Community (Stevenage Liberal and Radlett Reform Synagogues)
joined together for an Erev Shabbat service which incorporated a Purim celebration. Everyone then enjoyed a delicious Chavurah supper. And, of course, there were plenty of Hamantaschen.

The Ark Synagogue
special relationship with the Teiva Progressive Congregation in Lviv, Ukraine, saw them exchanging messages, photos and videos. Adel Diana, the Chair of Teiva, said: "We are immensely grateful to all at The Ark for their sincere and generous help, which truly makes a difference.”

York Liberal Jewish Community celebrated the festival with a fun-filled and deliciously prepared event – full of wonderful food and acting.

If your Purim isn’t featured, please send the best picture from your community and a sentence or two about how you celebrated to