Read the full piece from The New York Jewish Week

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — After two years of Covid restrictions, Jews across the city are preparing for crowded Purim events, ranging from synagogue services and rock shows to queer Megillah readings and dance parties.

While Purim is traditionally celebrated inside of a synagogue, the holiday — with its themes of masquerade and merry-making — has been embraced by alternative Jewish groups, from political progressives to LGBT Jews. With pandemic restrictions lifting, Purim 2022 is shaping up as a day to mark a new beginning for many Jewish party-goers.

...Even political groups like the liberal Jews For Racial & Economic Justice are holding non-traditional Purim events pegged to the two-year anniversary of Covid and how Purim relates to all that is going on in the world.

On March 13, JFREJ is hosting an event called Emergency Purim, which will be held outdoors (weather permitting) on the steps of the Brooklyn Library. It will also be livestreamed for anyone who isn’t able to attend.

A “Purim Medic” will lead people through dancing, a parade, with make-your-own costume bags sent out so people can prepare for the festivities.

Jenny Romaine, a JFREJ member who has decades of experience putting on massive Purim theatricals known as “spiels,” said there is an emphasis on joy and taking care of each other.

“We have to have each other’s backs,” she said. “Covid is not over. This deeply honors that. Every step of the way, we were thinking about that.”

Romaine added that participants will carry a flag with a decree on it, similar to how King Ahaseurus in the Purim story sends out decrees to his kingdom.

“You write your own,” she said. “It will be expressing what they think is important right now. People will be looking at each other’s decrees, and then there will be a dance party.”

JFREJ’s director of strategic communications, Sophie Ellman-Golan, said the event will encourage people to work through the crises facing the world and get through it all together.

“What do you do at the end of the world?” Ellman-Golan asked.“The Purim story is about finding ludicrousness in the face of crisis. When the world is upside down, we’ll turn upside down as well, but we’ll do it with creativity, with art and with ritual and with love for each other.”

Read the full piece from The New York Jewish Week