For Sandy victims in Brighton Beach, Purim story has a double meaning
The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services on March 17 treated the Brighton Beach community, which was seriously affected during Hurricane Sandy, to a festive Purim party at Tatiana restaurant on Brighton Beach Avenue as part of the UJA-Federation’s Post-Sandy Community Outreach Program.
The program provides emotional and spiritual help to members of the Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Staten Island who have been seriously affected by the hurricane. The free program, which is offered in both English and Russian, is unusual because it combines pastoral with psychological counseling.
“Our tradition holds that on Purim, nothing is what it seems,” said the program’s spiritual coordinator, Rabbi Josh Minkin, who appeared wearing various costumes and hats in the Purim tradition. “The day that was set for our people’s destruction became instead a day of joy and deliverance. So too, we wanted this party to help deliver the residents of Brighton Beach from the pain and destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Purim is a time for rejoicing.”
Vita Lisina and Alex Radionov, who presented the entertainment, facilitated this rejoicing. Many attendees sang along with the songs in English, Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish, and people were literally dancing in the aisles. Even with almost 100 people in attendance, the sponsors had to turn people away.