Chabad of Bay Ridge paints new picture of Purim with arts fest

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Mustache maestro: Menacheim Stroh donned a painted mustache and goatee.
Cartoon creations: A caricaturist captured a reveler’s essence.
Sweet treats: Rochelle Stroh enjoyed a slice of apple cake.
Pint-sized princess: Amelia Sobel embraced her inner princess.

It was a multimedia Megillah!

The Chabad of Bay Ridge used a cartoon reenactment to tell the tale of Purim at its annual bash on March 12. The celebration traditionally commemorates the Jewish people’s deliverance from the power-hungry Haman with a reading from the Book of Esther, but this year the Chabad mixed things up by projecting an animated retelling of the story to help congregants follow along with the Hebrew reading, said the center’s rabbi.

“The reading is very difficult for someone who doesn’t understand Hebrew to follow — it can be hard even if you do understand — so we felt the multimedia presentation gives people a replay of events they can watch while they listen,” said Rabbi Tzvi Stroh. “It helped people have a better understand­ing.”

Dozens of partygoers cavorted in costumes, munched on mounds of hamantashen cookies, and got their mugs captured by a caricaturist. The artsy elements helped revamp the age-old Purim tale and get to the crux the holiday’s meaning, said Stroh.

“The reason we chose to focus on art this time is because the Purim story take place over 13 years, and when you look at each part by itself, it might not be that miraculous, but when you put it all together you see the miracle of salvation, and that’s similar to a painting,” said Stroh. “When you add up all the strokes, that’s when you see a complete picture. We’re not always looking at the full picture in life, so the focus on the art is a focus on going deeper than face value.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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