Students celebrate Jewish holiday with costumes, candy

Erika Puch

Sophomore accounting major Sean Turpin dresses as Queen Esther with freshman marketing major Erin Fine as a butterfly. The two were participating in the Jewish celebration of Purim. The event was being put on by Hillel and Kent Student Center Programing i

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Costumes, glow sticks, food and Mardi Gras beads all were part of the festivities in the Rathskeller last night in celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday.

“Pour ’em for Purim” was a celebration similar to a masquerade ball or Halloween hosted by Hillel and Student Center Programing from 8 to 10 p.m.

The holiday originates from a Bible story, according to Hillel. Jews in Persia once were slated to be killed by Haman, King Achashverosh’s chief adviser. Queen Esther revealed Haman’s plan to the King and told him that she was secretly Jewish. King Achashverosh then permitted the Jews to fight their enemies.

“We celebrate with a feast because when the Jews were victorious they had a big celebration,” said Mike Levinstein, assistant director of Hillel.

Hamantaschen, traditional fruit-filled pastries, were served for all those celebrating to enjoy along with other foods.

The pastries are shaped in a triangle to symbolize the hat Haman wore, Levinstein said.

“I came for the hamantaschen,” said Alyse Rothenberg, junior early childhood education major. “I haven’t eaten it in years.”

Purim also is celebrated with costumes and other disguises such as masks. One student dressed as a butterfly, while another opted for a different costume – a raccoon. The celebration featured a costume contest awarding the best-dressed with a Saks Fifth Avenue gift bag.

Noise makers, called graggers, were spread out on tables along with gift bags full of candy. Door prizes such as T-shirts, day spa and Best Buy gift certificates were awarded.

Other students came not only for the costumes and food but also to meet with other students.

“I wanted to reunite with my friends from the Israel trip,” said Rebecca Agrast, freshman early child education major.

Contact Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Erika Puch at [email protected].