Purim in Los Angeles is like Independence Day -- a chance for Jews to liberate themselves from their everyday exteriors and recast themselves as their favorite character: a Persian queen, an opulent Pharoah or -- popular this year -- call girl for Client No. 9. With the rare and welcome religious imperative to get shnockered, Jews young and old, observant and secular, all seem to find something irresistible about the holiday of hiddeness, masking and unmasking in their dress, concealing and revealing their inhibitions -- and in an election season, proudly proclaiming their politics.
Rabbi Sharon Brous had nothing to hide about her bodily endorsement of Barack Obama with the phrase "Yes We Can" scrawled across the back of her mini-skirt, just below her eensey-weensey waist. Her baby T was also stamped with the Illinois senator's campaign bumper sticker.
Brous' self-styled spiritual community IKAR isn't afraid to promulgate politics -- the "social justice Purim carnival" on March 20 was no exception.
Following a raucous megillah reading interspersed with inside spoofs and satires, hundreds in the costumed crowd filed into the Westside JCC's gym, where '80s music blared and carnival booths themed with various social problems lined the walls.
"Knock Out Injustice" invited partygoers to knock over jugs labeled "racism," "homophobia" and "sexism." "Up the Ante to End Hunger" was papered with informative facts like, "We produce 20 percent more food than the world can consume." The most interesting juxtaposition, however, was in the arrangement of a plasma television screen hooked up to a Nintendo Wii alongside brutal statistics about genocide.
Eric Greene at IKAR's Social Justice Carnival (right).
Young Professional Partiers
More than 430 professionals swarmed Sunset Boulevard for Purim on the Strip, a March 8 party at The Roxy that ranked high on the hip radar. Creative dress-up duds, drinks and dancing set the tone for proper Purim revelry. On board for this biggie were Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, The W Group, ATID, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, Kol Ami, Eretz-SIAMAK Young Professionals and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
More than 430 people, including Eliza Steel, Chad Berg, Tanya Stawski, celebrated at Purim on the Strip, held at The Roxy Theater on Sunset.
Rabbi David Wolpe celebrated Purim at The Roxy dressed as -- himself, Stacey Zackin looks expectant, while Eric Erenstoft and Yael Prizant are ghetto fabulous.
JconnectLA founding couple Lara and Cheston Mizel. Photo by Jonah Light Photography
Princesses Naomi Stal, JConnectLA program director Michal Taviv and Sylvia Zak. Photo by Jonah Light Photography
Over in Pico-Robertson, at JConnectLA's "Purimpalooza" at The Palace, holiday-themed cocktails, good kosher food and the band Moshav proved enticing enough to draw a crowd. Party-hoppers crowded the entrance, where exotic characters granted entry to a sprawling scene with separate rooms for dining, drinking and dancing.
Although, truth be told, if anyone's seen Moshav perform, admirers tend to head-bang more than hip-hop, and here, a multi-cultural mix bounced around together.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my: Tin man Robert Bonem cozies up to ape-tastic man Vadim Kuraev; Jonah Light and Noah From pump their muscles at Purimpalooza. Photo by Jonah Light Photography
The Moshav band entertained their fanatical followers at Purimpalooza.
Pony rides were popular at Eretz SIAMAK's Purim Carnival where 500 adults and children feasted and danced to Persian music. Photo by Karmel Melamed
For Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad, Purim is personal: the Iranian native's Hebrew name is Mordechai and his mother is Esther. He celebrated the plot-thick Persian story at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills' Annual Purim Carnival on Sun., March 9. From left: Rabbi Jonathan Aaron, Mayor Jimmy Delshad, Rabbi Laura Geller and Bruce Cole.
BFF (from left) Naomi Amaya and Maya Yaakovi at Shomrei Torah Synagogue's annual Purim Canival on March 23. Photo by Ayala Or-El