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


       Jewish holiday of Purim isn’t officially until next week, but 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 CommitteeJews 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.

Comment policy


  1. No walls in Israel? Wasn’t there supposed to be a big one somewhere in China? Gee, Ma, why do people build walls? fences? barricades? or for that matter, why do we live in houses instead of out in the open? Do you lock your doors at night when you go to sleep? Do you lock your car doors? Let’s ponder this great mystery.

  2. This is not surprising as Rabbi Karl was affiliated with JStreet, an anti-Israel organization funded by George Soros. It’s very sad to see Jews manipulated this way. Each of these persons should leave their doors unlocked and take in an illegal immigrant. Then let’s see their attitude.


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