Jewish Pittsburgh set to celebrate Purim

Jewish Pittsburgh set to celebrate Purim

What’s Purim without a little spieling?
Make that, a lot of spieling.
Purim carnivals will be held across Greater Pittsburgh this weekend, taking place in synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. Children and adults will come in costume, play games, drown out the name of Haman with noisemakers and stuff themselves with hamanstashen.
So what else is new?
Well, in the South Hills, one of those carnivals represents a unique collaboration of Jewish youth groups. The Beth El USY, BBYO, Young Judea, NFTY/Coyote from Beth El and JCC youth will come together at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7, after Shabbat, at the JCC on Kane Boulevard, for the first collaborative youth program in the South Hills.
This is an idea that’s been talked about for some time, according to Amy Karp, adult education administrator for the Agency for Jewish Learning, which is supporting the program.
“The kids have always talked about doing something together,” she said.
At least 100 kids in grades 8 through 12 are expected to attend. Most are coming from the South Hills, though Karp said Congregation Beth Shalom and Temple Sinai also are expected to send groups.
Two representatives from each of the five youth groups began planning in January, she said. They received a $1,000 United Jewish Federation/AJL grant to defray costs of deejay and advertising, and they organized a party that includes dancing and other
For those kids who prefer to stay off the dance floor, there will be stations for the making of hamantashen, the traditional three-corner Purim pastry; mishloach manot, holiday gift baskets; and Purim masks.
“The kids are really excited about it,” Karp said.
The JCC dance will be one of several Purim spiels taking place around Jewish Pittsburgh over the holiday. What follows is a partial list of the events. For programs or parties in your area, check with your local synagogue:
The Hillel Jewish University Center will stage Estherfest 2009 Thursday, March 5, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Hillel JUC in Oakland. Come dressed as Queen Esther.
A costume contest and parade at 1:45 p.m. will kick off The Sandy and Edgar Snyder Family Purim Carnival Sunday, March 8, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill. The carnival will include Hamantashen bake-off, an iPod raffle, Mike the Balloon Guy, games and prizes. Food will be for sale. At 1:15 p.m. the Senior Adult Cabaret Tap and Comedy Group will perform in Levinson Hall. At 2:15 p.m. the JCC Early Childhood Development Center children will perform. JCC triathlon registration is at 11:30 a.m. in Centerfit; competition begins at noon. Open family swim and open play in Family Place will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring a kosher food donation for the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. For more information contact Liza Edelstone Baron at (412) 521-8011 Ext. 241 or at
Student-led Megillah readings will be held on Purim at Community Day School. Two Megillah readings are set on Purim, Friday, March 21: Grades K-2 will take part in an age-appropriate reading. Grades 3-8 will listen to a Megillah reading. The Megillah will be read by middle school students with the help of Amy Pincus. The seuda will be the children’s lunch and the Parents Association will provide hamantashen for dessert. Students and their families will also receive mishloach manot from the P.A.

(Lee Chottiner can be reached at

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