It's been a long two years, and the world continues to feel scary. Our communities need renewal, and it is the play in the depth of winter, the burlesque, the laughter at power that has renewed us for centuries. How do we find joy and laughter in times of emergency? JFREJ's answer to this question is...EMERGENCY PURIM!!!

JFREJ is celebrating Purim on Sunday, March 13, with an outdoors pageant, parade, and party kicking off on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library in Grand Army Plaza at 2:30pm. RSVP here!

Costume-Making for Purim 5782/2022

Dressing up for Purim is a custom practiced by Jews all over the world for thousands of years. Making a costume for Purim this year and reaching for joy and laughter, in the middle of countless crises and emergencies are acts of political love and solidarity.

As Jews, we are tasked with tikkun olam; repairing the world. As activists, we are tasked not only with the work of dismantling unjust systems, but also of imagining and building new ones. As Chicago activist Ameesha Patel has expressed, art and creation are key ways for us to unlock imagination, putting creative power at the center of our organizing for justice and liberation. And as Purim teaches us, when the world is scary and upside-down, sometimes all we can do is turn ourselves upside-down too, and reach for each other and for joy and laughter — because we need it!

Watch JFREJ member Jenny Romaine say more about this in the video below!

Earlier this month, artists of the JFREJ community created 100 DIY costume kits for JFREJ members to pick up via neighborhood groups. These Mischloach Manot (Purim baskets) are one way for our JFREJ community to connect with each other, and to make joy accessible to all of us — regardless of whether you can join JFREJ’s Purim celebration this year in Grand Army Plaza!

Purim Costume Kits packed and ready for distribution!

This year’s costume themes:

  • Emergency Joy Purim Medic Costume: This kit is designed to affirm life in the midst of winter and the COVID pandemic. How do we spark joy in scary times? We make noise! This costume is about jump-starting our batteries and shaking us up with loud colors and prints. In hard moments like these, our communities are especially in need of joy and laughter. These Emergency Joy costumes are coming in with lights and sirens to rescue our spirits and honor EMTs and street medics who show up in times of need to help us be safe and healthy. We will light up our spirits with massive amounts of orange, yellow, and hot pink. Prepare to laugh and layer!
  • Interdependence Myrtle Tree Costume: This kit is designed to honor interdependence and the knowledge that our survival depends on caring for one another. Did you know that trees respond to signals of distress from other trees, send resources where they are needed, and have a great capacity to heal themselves through relationship? (Check out the work of Dr. Suzanne Simard). In the Purim story, Queen Esther is called הֲדַסָּה/Hadassah, named after the הֲדַס/hadas, or myrtle tree. Myrtle has incredible street cred in Jewish tradition. It represents life and righteousness, and it appears throughout our practices and scripture. The Myrtle Tree Costume Kit celebrates Esther’s connection to trees, and the special way trees — like people — interconnect. You can learn more about Myrtle trees here, here and here.

Watch JFREJ member Edie unbox her Purim costume kit, and then watch JFREJ member Arielle make a costume in just 5 minutes below!

Purim Decrees:

At JFREJ Purim, everyone will have the opportunity to make a Purim Decree. One side of every decree will say EMERGENCY JOY in one of many Jewish languages (English, Turkish, Ladino, Yiddish, and Arabic). The other side of every decree will be stamped with the word DECREE (in Hebrew: גזירה).

In the Purim story, King Ahasuerus has huge amounts of power, but no principles; he does whatever the people around him tell him. He issues deadly decrees of punishment, and sends them out in every language of the kingdom. This Purim, we the people of New York are seizing control of the envelope! We’ll be re-writing those degrees, and flying them as flags of transformation. On the back of the envelope where it says DECREE, you can write your own message. For example, you could write:

  • Glitter makes everything Better!


  • Be here! Be Queer! Take care of each other!

  • More Subway Churros

  • All pets and babies must feel loved and seen!

  • I see a need in my community, and I am working to meet that need!

  • Instead of more police we can fund work people are already doing to care for each other!

  • I decree: I am obsessed with video games

  • ____is the best borough

You can also make your own flag at home! Download an EMERGENCY JOY sign here.

Watch JFREJ member Arielle create a Purim decree below!

More Purim Costume Templates:

Here are some more easy DIY costume templates created by Jenny Romaine to help you make a Purim Costume! Most can be made with just fabric and scissors. Some require a paper bag, decorative papers, and/or pipe cleaners!

Robe Pattern

Paper Bag Crown Pattern

Tree Trunk Hood with Myrtle Flowers

Follow steps 3 and 4 to create Myrtle Flowers, and attach them to anything you’d like!

Watch JFREJ member Nikolai Mishler assemble a Myrtle Tree Costume Kit below!

Purim Playlist

Get in the mood for Purim by listening to this playlist curated by JFREJ member Ira Temple!

Learn More About Purim

Purim is a holiday of masquerades, processions, pageantry, Megillah reading, and shared delicious treats. These ways of making joy are the ancient technologies of our ancestors; communal methods used by Jews worldwide for addressing fear, injustice and fury by making merry and getting loose. Just like many other carnival traditions, Jews around the world have celebrated Purim for centuries. Purim delivers playfulness, burlesque, and laughter at power. It offers us renewal when we most need it. These links were compiled by Jenny Romaine to amplify your Purim joy and inform your costume-making process.

The Purim Story:

Other Purim Resources:

Tasty Purim Treats:

Finally, watch JFREJ members Abbie & Norma get ready for Purim together below!