“From Shushan to Avenue J! Bans and walls are not OK!”

“From Shushan to Avenue J! Bans and walls are not OK!”

some local Jewish organizations got a jump on it this past Sunday with a raucous carnival and protest parade. The event, hosted by The Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, the Workmen’s Circle, and Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, began at the East Midwood Jewish Center and culminated in a “Children’s Parade for Immigrant Rights” to State Senator Simcha Felder’s office on Avenue J.

Themes inspired by progressive Jewish values and history were peppered into the afternoon’s fun – from a reworking of the Purim story into a tale of early-20th-century Jewish immigration starring Emma Goldman to games like Knock It All Down:

From the press release: “Given heightened concerns across the nation about hate violence and deportations, the event will embrace social justice themes and include activities that highlight the need to stand up for immigrant rights.

Workmen’s Circle Executive Director Ann Toback was adamant about the “centuries-old tradition of irreverence” in Jewish culture and its relationship to fighting back against oppression: “Irreverence plays a key role in resistance,” she said.

Costumes were, of course, in abundance. Some were traditional:

Others less so.

And a space was carved out for sign making in preparation for the parade:

It’s common at Purim carnivals to do a shpil, or play, telling the Purim story of how Queen Esther saved the Jews of Shushan from being killed. On Sunday, there were two shpils – one written and performed by students of Workmen’s Circle schools:

And another, titled Jews with Horns, created by The Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee with help from members of Great Small Works:

Everyone then gathered outside and proceeded to march, accompanied by the Jews with Thorns musicians and a few 20-ft-tall puppets, over to Avenue J:

Upon arrival at Senator Felder’s office, speeches were made through some Occupy Wall Street-style amplification, mishloach manot (Purim gift baskets) were delivered, and songs were sung.

With the parade concluded, activists faded back into the neighborhood, some attendees – ahem – retreating into Isaac’s Bake Shop for poppyseed hamantaschen and cinnamon rugelach.

All images by Avi Glickstein for BKLYNER.

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