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Sun-speckled cobblestones paved the path for almost 200 young Jewish professionals who came out to the Jane Hotel on Thursday night to celebrate Purim in the West Village.As the sun set over the Hudson, casting a warm, blood-orange glow on the water, people filed into the chic nightlife venue and New York City landmark dressed as iconic figures for the Manhattan Jewish Experience’s 17th annual Purim celebration.This year’s theme was Purim Con, and interpretations of known personalities, both real and fictional, gathered in the nautically themed venue.“We decided to go with the theme of iconic, which was inspired by Bowie,” said MJE’s director of communications, Michelle Soffen, referring to the recently deceased rock legend.“We had the location first, which is an icon of New York, and we wanted to pay homage to the people who have shaped history and culture, which goes along with the theme of Purim,” said Soffen, who was dressed as Rose De Witt Bukater from “Titanic.” In character, she looked very much at home in the grand space, which was originally built as a sailors’ lodging and could have been snatched from the set of James Cameron’s seminal film.Among the famous faces were Janis Joplin, Magic Johnson, Bill Clinton, Jackie O, Rosie the Riveter, Elvis and several iterations of Danny Zucko and Sandy Olsson from “Grease.” Attendees mingled by the oak bar and gathered in the main room where a fire roared, complementing the indulgent feel of the large, Victorian rugs and inviting leather couches.
“He’s the ultimate icon because he’s a towering figure in world consciousness. “He put up with those stuffy, nagging Jews who constantly kvetched. He was the ultimate freedom fighter,” continued Rabbi Feldman as he waved a large, wooden staff he procured from his home upstate, and wielded a rubber snake and two gray tablets bearing hand-painted scripture.
“If as many Jews came to celebrate Purim as came to celebrate Yom Kippurim they would come around more the rest of the year.
We want them to see the fun, joyful, elevated side of Purim,” said Rabbi Feldman.
Not everyone had the chance to transform identities.
Brian Farhi, who works as a catering manager for Fordham University, was coming straight from the office and drifted around the venue sipping a gin martini in a black pinstriped suit and pink tie (he could have gotten away with telling people he was dressed up as “Mad Men” protagonist, Don Draper).