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Hillel sets up a carnival to celebrate Purim

By Rachel Miller, Staff Writer

Hofstra Hillel celebrated Purim, the Feast of Lots, with a carnival in the Student Center on Wednesday, March 7.  The carnival festivities included live music, carnival games, face-in-hole cutouts, a photo booth, a juggler, balloon animals, and costumed carnival-goers.

The carnival encouraged all students to celebrate the Jewish holiday, which traditionally promotes giving back to others. "Hofstra Hillel really wanted to see what way we could give to the community, so we figured having a carnival for everybody would be a nice way to do it," said Rabbi Dave Siegel, the executive director of Hofstra Hillel.

"The Purim carnival tonight is to celebrate the fact that the Jews didn't get killed, essentially, and we still live on," said Bari Morchower, a Hofstra Hillel member.  The carnival commemorated the survival of the Jewish people and the story of two Jewish heroes, Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai, who foiled Haman's plan to exterminate the Jews of Persia.

Some of the carnival-goers came in costumes.  

"It's like Halloween but in a Jewish way," said Rachel Sherman, a Hofstra freshman dressed as a zebra and winner of the Purim carnival costume contest. She received 100 dollars to donate to the charity of her choice; she chose to donate to Adopt A Dream, an organization that gives back to underprivileged children. 

The sound of groggers, or noisemakers, was heard many times during the carnival.  Traditionally, groggers are used during the reading of the Megillat Esther, the biblical scroll of Esther.  "Whenever we read the name of the man who tried to kill all the Jews, we use the groggers or make a noise to stomp out his name because he was an evil man," said Morchower.

Hofstra Hillel also provided clementines, chocolate, and candy for carnival-goers to make goodie bags for their friends. "Purim is a chance for the whole community to celebrate, and I hope we can do it every year," said Rabbi Siegel.

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