Parents and children at Riverdale Temple greeted the holiday of Purim on March 4 with a lively carnival — including inflatable bounce houses, costumes and balloons.
Some call it the Jewish Halloween, but the custom of reveling and masquerading on the holiday is actually more like Mardi Gras. It harks back to 15th century Italy, historians say.
The holiday — one of the happiest in the Jewish calendar — marks the time in ancient Persia when Queen Esther foiled a plot by a powerful politician to massacre all of the nation’s Jews. Children use noisemakers to drown out his name when the biblical story is read to them and everyone enjoys pastries called hamentaschen shaped like the villain Haman’s hat.