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Jewish Community Members Celebrate Purim

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The Jewish Community Center in Vestal is hosting its 32nd annual Purim celebration.
Although there's plenty of action, the carnival-like celebration is more than just costumes, food and games.

You might think of Purim as the Jewish version of Halloween, but there is a deeper story behind the costumes. Children are actually wearing them to commemorate Queen Esther, a woman who stood up for her people and saved thousands of Jews from an evil King.

"She was a queen, so she was dressed like a queen.The kids wear different kings and queens costumes and then they like to reuse their Halloween costumes and dress up in all of their favorite costumes today," said Kerie Lake, Youth and Camp Director at the JCC."

"I see Spiderman, Darth Vader, a stormtrooper, and a ninja," said Joshua Kewller, Student at JCC.

On Purim, Jews eat hamentashen which are shaped like the triangle hat that the evil biblical figure Haman wore when he was trying to get rid of all the Jews in his area.

"In Jewish history, there was a King named King Ahasuerus who had aman named Haman who worked for him, hence the hamentashen cookie. "Queen Esther stood up for all of the jews and essentially saved all of the Jews from Haman and an amazing heroine who saved all the Jews' lives," said Kerie Lake."

"We don't like Haman, and he's really evil, really evil!" said Kweller.

Lake says while it may be thousands of years later, the virtue shown by Queen Esther can still be applied to our lives today.

"Queen Esther basically announced that she was a Jew and these where her people and that wasn't known before this happened. So teaching the kids to stand up for important things and people is really rewarding in my job," said Lake.