Make Purim Your Own: Get Creative!

(Russian girls celebrating a holiday I don’t know about)

I recently saw an email with the subject line, The Best Purim Kitsch You Can Buy on the Internet. I almost deleted it since all I need are more tchotchkes. Then I stopped. Purim is not one of those untouchable holy holidays that no one wants to alter in the least. AND it doesn’t butt up against an American cultural or religious holiday that would color it. So what exactly would be kitsch for Purim? I found out!
Sweaters, earrings, leotards, pins, T-shirts, totes, cufflinks, mugs, baby bibs, onesies, cookie cutters and more!

Let’s think about this. So often a Jewish holiday is over shadowed by the non-Jewish holiday near it. Now, it’s true that Purim gets falsely labeled as the Jewish Halloween because there are costumes for kids, but other than that, Purim is pretty free and clear. So if you’re going to go all American on a Jewish holiday, this seems to me to be the way to do it. Get yourself a Purim apron or your kiddo a Hamentashen T-shirt. Make mask shaped cookies and put on that Purim jewelry. Go all out Jewish and have fun with it! Invent your own Purim doodads.

By coincidence I had come across the photo above and thought, “Wow! What a fast, easy, inexpensive, dramatic, inventive idea for a Purim costume.” With a paper hat you can be just about anything. These girls look like they could be pirate queens or fairies.

As for the Halloween and Purim comparison, both holidays are dark in their own way and painted over with parental cheer to look good to children. But they each have their own unique story and offer a lesson about life from different cultural environments. Don’t short yourself or your family, learn about them; they are truly fascinating and will enrich your understanding of human beings.


JCC East Bay Summer Camp! (Berkeley and Oakland)
Shabbat in the Round (Berkeley)
Book Group: On Division (Burlingame)
Shabbat Purim (San Francisco)
Purim-Themed Tot Shabbat (Los Altos)
Purim Palooza- A Family Carnival (San Rafael)
Megillah & Mojitos Purim Party (Alameda)
Friday Night Lights: Purim (Palo Alto)
Beatles Purim 2020 (Burlingame)
Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Jewish Practice & Lifestyle (Oakland)
Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Purim Celebration (Livermore)


JCC East Bay Summer Camp!
I have a girlfriend who always had her children’s summer camp plans lined up by the end of February. Boy, did I feel out of it. But summer camp is one of those experiences that rewards your child with a lifetime of memories and friends.
Good news, you can get an Early Bird rate at the JCC East Bay Summer Camp. Here’s the info.
Lock in your Early Bird rate for Camp @ JCC!
Rate available now through TUE, MARCH 3.

Date:   Due by Tuesday, March 3
Place:   JCC East Bay, two sites, check their website for details.


Shabbat in the Round
Join us at our monthly Shabbat program on the 4th Friday of the month as Beth El singers and musicians join Cantor Elaya Jenkins-Adelberg for a musical Shabbat celebration. We will enjoy a catered dinner together from local fave, Poulet! RSVP for dinner here!

Date:   Friday, February 28
Time:   service at 6:15, dinner following
Place:   Beth El, 1301 Oxford St., Berkeley


Book Group: On Division
As part of ONE BAY, ONE BOOK, we will be reading On Division, by Goldie Goldbloom.
Join Rabbi Delson and the PTS Book Club for a conversation on this highly regarded novel about life in the Chassidic community of Williamsburg, NY. The discussion is open to all.
One Bay, One Book is a part of a larger Bay Area program sponsored by Jewish LearningWorks. See JLW for information on other Bay Area happenings. RSVP to Rabbi Delson.

Date:   Monday, March 2
Time:   3:00 pm
Place:   Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Dr, Burlingame


Shabbat Purim
I Guess That’s Why They Call It A Spiel: Lion King Edition
Jamie Marx’s Lion King Purimspiel with parodies of songs from the movie plus Elton John’s biggest hits. Kabbalat Shabbat and Purim celebration with Cantor Jamie Marx and Rabbi Jessica Graf, musical director Jonathan Dimmock and Koleynu Choir. Free. All are welcome. No registration required.

Date:   Friday, March 6
Time:   6:00 – 7:45pm
Place:   Sherith Israel, 2266 California St., San Francisco


Purim-Themed Tot Shabbat
Fun for Families with Children Ages 0-5
Join Rabbi Heath Watenmaker for a Purim-themed tot Shabbat service for families with children ages 0-5 years. Be sure to come in costume for our costume parade! Following the service, enjoy grape juice, challah and a festive Shabbat dinner, as well as arts and crafts. Come have fun with your child and meet other parents of young children! Friends are always welcome, too! RSVP by the Wednesday before using the form below so we know how much food to order.

Date:   Friday, March 6
Time:   5:15 – 6:30pm
Place:   Chapel and Rms. 5 & 6 at Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd, Los Altos Hills
Register here.


Purim Palooza- A Family Carnival
Free Festival—Open to All
Bring your friends to the Osher Marin JCC for a fun family carnival! Enjoy arts & crafts, carnival games, delicious food and live music!
Details here

Date:   Sunday, March 8
Time:   11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Place:   Osher Marin JCC, 200 North San Pedro Rd., San Rafael


Megillah & Mojitos Purim Party (Adults Only!)
Bring your favorite hors d’oeuvre ready to share: dairy, vegetarian, or vegan. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served and join us as we read and sing our way through the Megillah to some very surprising melodies!
Please RSVP to,, so that they can be sure to have enough seats!

Date:   Monday, March 9
Time:   7:30 pm
Place:   Temple Israel of Alameda, 3183 Mecartney Rd, Alameda


Friday Night Lights: Purim
The Hebrew month of Adar is a time of joy and fun (“Mi She’nichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha” — when Adar arrives, we increase our joy). Join us on Friday night, March 6, for an extra joyful version of Friday Night Lights and an early taste of Purim! Friday Night Lights is our Shabbat program for the eight and under crowd and their families. It features a scavenger hunt, Shabbat blessings, singing, a light dinner, and time for children to learn and play while their adults shmooze over wine and cheese. This potluck program is free and open to all, but please sign up in advance so we’ll know how many to plan for.

Date:   Friday, March 6
Time:   5:45 – 7:00 pm
Place:   Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma, Palo Alto
Click here to RSVP.


Beatles Purim 2020
It’s Going To Be Smashing!
Come hear the Megillah, sing along with a hilarious Purim Shpiel, and play at our fantastic Purim carnival!

Date:   Monday, March 9
Time:   4:00 – 7:00 pm
Place:   Peninsula Temple Sholom, 1655 Sebastian Dr, Burlingame
Cost:    $20/Individual wristband to carnival + Pizza Dinner
$75/Family package of wristbands to carnival + Pizza Dinner for 6
$10/Shpiel +Pizza Dinner
Pre-purchase wristbands on


Introduction to the Jewish Experience: Jewish Practice & Lifestyle
This 3-part series (can be taken in any order) is an intro to Jewish culture, history, and practice through the Jewish lifecycle events and the cycle of the Jewish year.
This section of the course examines the connections between Jewish traditions and lifecycle events, with an emphasis on the spring holidays and contemporary national holidays.
Taught by Rabbi Ruth Adar & Jason Harris.

Dates:  Wednesdays, March 11 thru May 13
Time:   7:30–9pm
Place:   Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland
Pay and register here


Tri-Valley Cultural Jews Purim Celebration
Come celebrate Purim with us!
WHAT TO BRING: There will be food, entertainment, and activities. This year we don’t have access to the kitchen, so we are asking each family to please bring along some hamantaschen to share (if possible). Since we have members who are dairy and/or gluten-free, please bring a card with your hamantaschen that lists the ingredients.
There will be a Purim play. Also, feel free to dress up! Traditional Purim costumes include Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus, and Mordecai but this is a holiday of JOY and anything goes! If you want to dust off an old Halloween costume, that’s great too! There will be a costume parade and contest for the kids.
We will also have a few crafts and activities for you to enjoy. We are also asking everyone to bring Shalach Mones (food for the needy) in the form of canned food for the food bank.

Date:   Sunday, March 15
Time:   10:30-12:30
Place:   The Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 8th St, Livermore
Cost:    Free to members, $10 per adult non-member
For more information you can email Noah at