Purim Wonderland at Santos Party House
/Ido Siman-Tov

Purim festivities were still in full swing on Thursday night in Soho

Over 700 young Jewish professionals in full costume ventured down the cobblestoned streets of Soho to the Santos Party House on Thursday night to celebrate Purim. Guests were greeted in the foyer with a platter toppling over with homemade Hamantaschen. Partygoers then walked through curtains and were transported to a magical Purim Wonderland - a wild atmosphere that evoked a Saturday night at an exclusive VIP nightclub.

The large, open space has several raised, slightly secluded areas for hanging out on couches. Dramatic concrete columns run from the floor to the high ceilings framing the large dance floor, which was packed with revelers.

Purim Wonderland was hosted by Isramerica, a non-profit organization where young, New York-based Israeli and Jewish-American artists work together to create art that celebrates their lifestyle, Jewish roots, and Israel. “Purim is my favorite holiday because I love seeing everyone dress up and express themselves through costume,” said Sivan Hadari, the artistic director and founder of Isramerica, who spearheaded the event.

Hadari rocked a red wig and matching dress at the party, going the non descript path, and she was certainly not alone on the costume front. Among the attendees were David Bowie, Cleopatra, Hermione Granger, a Pharaoh, a flapper, “Netflix and Chill,” a fireman, a cowgirl, pancakes, and even several iterations of Queen Esther. Some ironic costumes for a Jewish event were in the mix as well: a nun, bacon, and Donald Trump all got down on the dance floor.

The 20’s and 30’s crowd was pleased with the evening. Shai Sabag, 24, came to New York by way of Israel after serving in the Israeli Defense Force as a Senior Sergeant and Paratrooper. “I love this party because I’m drunk and got to wear a turtle costume,” said Sabag, who was dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

“Even though I’m not Jewish, I came here with friends, and felt very welcomed into the community,” said Priya Mehta, 25, a writer, who made new friends at the event.

If talking or dancing were not your M.O. there were plenty of other ways to stay entertained. Access to huge spreads of delicious Kosher sushi and pastries was included with each ticket. There was a full bar, for which the line somehow never got very long (a Purim miracle perhaps?). Live aerial acrobatics were performed directly above the dance floor - skilled dancers impressively hung from and spun around on hula hoops that were suspended from the ceiling, inches from a huge disco ball and just above partygoers’ heads.

Rakhil Tillo, who works in law and came dressed as Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games,” was a big fan of the music. “They had a good mix of American Top 40 and Israeli-Jewish music,” she said. DJ Louie Mole, who was perched on a large, raised stage, spun a wide variety of songs, all mixed with a throbbing beat that enabled a consistently bustling dance floor. Mole and Hadari also emceed the event from the DJ booth, reminding guests several times to enter the costume contest, for which prizes included tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.

As 2:00am neared, the space suddenly opened on the dance floor. Two men, one of whom was dressed as the Riddler from Batman, set up an impromptu game of limbo with his Riddler’s Cane.

“I was happy that I stayed till the end of the night and got to play limbo,” said Jen Sandler, 24, who works in theatre administration. “Playing limbo was unexpected and hilarious, and brought together a group of random, young Jewish professionals to celebrate Purim and cap off the night on a high,” said Sandler, who spent the night as Minnie Mouse.

“I don’t attend events like this often, but I thought it might be a fun way to celebrate Purim. I had a lot of fun,” said Rachel Goodgal, 24, an actress, who was one of a few Queen Esthers in attendance.

Even though celebrating Purim at a nightclub is not necessarily the norm, the religious and empowering aspects of the holiday still played a big role at Purim Wonderland. “Purim is very special because it's a holiday that actually highlights female empowerment,” Hadari said before continuing, “Esther is really the one who saved the Jewish people when she stepped up to the plate and took a leadership role, even though it was a difficult thing to do. Especially at that time when there was so much anti-Semitism everywhere."

"So in the end, Purim is actually a holiday that celebrates a continuation of the Jewish people," said Hadari from under her fiery red wig, "... and celebrates women as well.”

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