SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With a grant from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Temple Sinai celebrated its community Purim carnival due to the pandemic. Sylvia Bloom, Director of Education for the synagogue, says it’s been great to have the community come back together to celebrate.

“We really missed it… It’s so nice, it’s great. I’m so happy we can do this again,” Bloom said.

Purim is a holiday celebrating a biblical story about overcoming racism and oppression. It’s traditionally celebrated with costumes and has been called “the Jewish Mardi Gras.”

“The other part that’s nice is being able to share a holiday that the community may not know about,” Bloom said.

And Jesse Epstein agrees. Epstein is in his third year of becoming a rabbi, and he says he loves working with the community to create more public awareness about their traditions and holidays.

“A lot of people are familiar with Hannakuh, maybe Passover,” Epstein said. “Purim is another beautiful holiday that is a great way to learn about Judaism and to learn about the Jewish community and culture.”

The celebration included more than 15 interactive games and activities for children of all ages, including a dance party, photo booth, crafts, snacks, and carnival games.

“And to see all the kids that we usually work with over at the synagogue in religious school, learn through their experience and the fun they’re having about this holiday…about its rituals, customs, and food, it’s incredible,” Epstein said.

With the Purim celebrations returning to the public, organizers are excited to continue the tradition for all faiths to attend next year.