Students were clad in wild costumes for Purim celebrations across campus Wednesday night.
Purim is a traditional Jewish holiday that includes a two-to-three-hour Megillah reading commemorating the biblical story in the Book of Esther to celebrate the Jews’ deliverance from the Persian Empire and the defeat of Haman the evil.
More than 100 people attended Hillel at Binghamton University ’s third Purim Extravaganza Wednesday evening in the Old University Union.
Raanan Korinow, director of pluralism and education for Hillel and a senior majoring in computer science, said that aside from the traditional Megillah reading, Hillel works hard to incorporate fun ways for people to relate to the holiday and story of Purim.
“We bring to light the Purim story with multimedia, comedic skits and musical interpretations,” Korinow said.
Lara Pollack, a junior majoring in management, appreciated Hillel’s spin on the traditional reading.
“This year’s Megillah reading was unique, creative and really had a modern spin on the traditional Purim custom,” Pollack said.
Refreshments, including a chocolate fountain with a variety of dipping desserts, were served after the reading.
Hillel did not hold a Purim event last year because the University’s first spring break was scheduled during the holiday.
Inflatable attractions and creative costumes filled the Events Center at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the 21st annual Purim Carnival.
Binghamton students celebrated, surrounded by booths and tables of food. Students got creative with their costumes, including Juicy Juice boxes, cereal and a flower garden.
“The carnival is a huge program on every level,” said Ariella Fineman, co-chair and a senior majoring in human development. “The best part is watching it all come together and seeing how much people enjoy it.”
Chabad, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Pi Lambda Phi led the event with other sponsorships from Sodexo, Off Campus College, Chi Phi and Delta Chi, among other organizations.
“It was epic as always,” said Jordan Waldman, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience.
Raffle tickets were sold, offering prize options including Binghamton Mets and Senators tickets, a Sodexo meal plan and bowling and movie passes.
More than $3,000 was raised for local charities through raffle sales alone. Funds will be donated to flood relief efforts, Victims Abuse Awareness and Jewish Family Services. The $3 admission at the door went toward paying for the event, with additional proceeds going to charities.
An estimated 1,500 people attended the event throughout the night, according to Rabbi Levi Slonim.
“It’s become a real staple in life at Binghamton University,” Slonim said. “It’s a beautiful opportunity for everyone to experience the holiday.”