Arriving Soviet Jews Celebrate Purim
- New York Times
February 24, 1975
By Irving Spiegel
Joyous song and the blare of music resounded in the Brooklyn Jewish Center at 667 Eastern Parkway for four hours yesterday as 1,500 newly arrived Russian Jews celebrated what was for most of them their first Purim.
As the story of Purim was related with its symbolic meaning for religious freedom, there were cries, in Russian, of "Zametchalno" (wonderful) and in Yiddish "S'iz freilich" (how joyous). The Festival of Purim begins at sundown today and ends tomorrow at sundown.
The festival has its roots in the Biblical story of Queen Ester, who saved the Jews from Haman, - the Persian minister who persecuted them. The word Purim means "lots"-the method Haman used to select the day on which Jews would be destroyed.
For 15-year-old Paul Plimer, here only two months with his parents with an older brother left behind ("they wouldn't let him go"), Purim had special meaning.
"My passport told me I am a Jew but now I am beginning to learn and it makes me happy," he said.
Paul and his fellow Russian Jews had arrived at the Jewish Center by chartered bus from various sections of Brooklyn., Queens and the Bronx. The event was sponsored by the Refugees of Eastern Europe in cooperation with the Lubavitcher Movement, the worldwide organization of Hasidic Jews.
Paul Plinier is among several immigrant youths now enrolled in all-dayJewish schools. many in the network of Lubavitcher religious institutions.
On stage, Cantor Moshe, Teleshevsky of Congregation Agudath Sholom of Flatbush led the singing to the rhythmic stamping of feet by the audience.
In the hallway, youthful Russian Jewish children snared literature and religious articles donated by the Lubavitcher Movement. More than 1,500 copies that told the story of Purim in Russian were picked up. "They want to learn," said Rabbi Yudah Krinsky, executive official of the Lubavitcher Moverment.
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