Charities ensured Purim fun was for everyone

Organisations hosted parties and put on entertainment for their members and staff


Celebrating Jewish Care's Purim Zumba at Beit Shvidler Primary School

Inclusion was at the heart of Purim for many Jewish charities.

Jewish Care held its first Communty Dementia Purim party for 50 members and 10 staff at the Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre in Golders Green.

Louisa Platt, a member of Jewish Care’s Memory Way Café in Redbridge, attended the Purim party on her birthday with her daughter, Amanda. Speaking fondly of the afternoon, she said: “It was such a wonderful and enjoyable Purim party and afternoon and the volunteers were all absolutely fantastic. I really love to dance and it was a great way to celebrate my birthday — I'm 21 again!

“I got engaged at 21 and married at 25, and I now have four children, 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild."

After the party, Sara Marks, whose mum attends Singing for Memory for people living with dementia in Redbridge, said: "My Mum had a lovely time, as did we! It was so nice to meet everyone there and all the volunteers."

Tanya Miller, Jewish Care’s community hub manager, said: “Dance for Life sessions are fantastic for our members. We know that dance and music has huge benefits for people living with dementia, from helping to reduce their feelings of anxiety and isolation, whilst enhancing their mood and mobility.

“Dance is one of the best forms of exercise for our members physically and cognitively and it brings everyone together.” 

To raise money for Jewish Care’s dementia serivces, hundreds of pupils from eight schools and five nurseries danced their way into Purim during Jewish Care’s annual Purim Zumba fundraising initiative to raise funds for dance therapy sessions at Jewish Care’s dementia day centres.

Children from three to 11 years old took part in the charity’s eighth Purim Zumbathon, with sponsored Zumba sessions led by MOUVE by Dancing with Louise.

The nurseries and schools involved were Beit Shvidler Primary School, Little Bicks Nurseries in Borehamwood, Mill Hill and Stanmore Synagogues, Nancy Reuben Primary School, Eden Primary School and Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School. Also taking part were Hertsmere Jewish Primary School, Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School, Mathilda Marks-Kennedy Jewish Primary School, Akiva School, Kerem School, and Keren’s Nurseries in Belsize Park, Holland Park, and Hampstead Garden Suburb.

In the meantime, Camp Simcha’s Purim extravaganza included two parties for families, a 500-strong rally in Manchester, a Purim stall at Great Ormond Street Hospital and supporters out in force in Golders Green.

Bringing a little circus magic to the London party, at JFS, more than 300 Camp Simcha family members enjoyed a fun-filled circus workshop. Plate-spinning, juggling and hula hoops kept the children entertained, while the adults were able to have some respite. 

In Manchester, some 75 Camp Simcha family members were invited to a Camp Simcha Purim party, where they enjoyed  inflatables, trampolining and games of pool.

The. charity also held its annual rally in Manchester, with a high energy concert in the sunshine starring singer Michael Carrol.

The people Norwood supports, its staff, trustees and volunteers enjoyed celebrating their favourite Purim traditions together, from the much-anticipated annual Purim parties in Berkshire and London to decorating their homes, exchanging mishloach manot food parcels, listening to the Megillah and enjoying delicious hamantashen.

Meanwhile, at The Hall School, a group of Year 8 students donated chocolates and made mishloach manot food packages for Norwood residents to enjoy. At JCoss, pupils at the lunchtime volunteering club made Purim decorations ready for Norwood residents to hang in their homes to get into the Purim spirit, and Norwood residents Gillian and Michele enjoyed going to JFS to make hamatashen with the students there.

Members of the Edgware Adath Yisroel Congregation Youth paid a visit to two Norwood homes, where they joined in the festivities with Norwood residents.

Charity Kisharon Langdon hit synagogues, cheders and the streets with their buckets to fundraise as part of the tradition of giving tzedakah (charity) on Purim.

At the same time, members of the charity got all dressed up to enjoy the Purim festivities.

This Purim saw GIFT embark on a mission to spread joy throughout care homes in London and Manchester through a new initiative, the Care-Nection programme.

The idea behind it is to empower young people to build meaningful relationships with care home residents through regular visits and engagement throughout the year and is in memory of sisters Marianne Arakie, Kathleen Benjamin and Sarah Noah. Together with their parents and siblings, they had arranged an annual Purim celebration at the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish care home in Wembley for nearly 50 years.

More than 150 young volunteers visited 11 care homes on Purim morning, delivering mishloach manot and singing songs for the care home residents.

In the weeks leading up to Purim, GIFT's volunteering community had rallied together to pack over 1,600 bags of Mishloach Manot.

Chani Simon, high schools educator at GIFT, expressed her excitement about the initiative, stating: "We are thrilled by the overwhelming response from the young people in our community, who dedicated their Purim morning to visit care homes. Their acts of kindness transformed Purim for both the volunteers and the residents, creating moments of pure joy and connection."

Reflecting on her experience, 16-year-old Shira said: "Visiting and speaking to the residents totally made my Purim. I can't wait to do this again."

 Michal, another volunteer, said: “It was such a humbling and life changing experience - seeing smiles on their faces not only brightens up their day but ours too!!”

Additionally, GIFT ensured that the remaining mishloach manot packs were distributed to GIFT recipient families.
The charity also collected a record £26,000, all of which was distributed to GIFT families in need on Purim itself.

At jLiving, a Jewish housing association, tenants at Harmony Close and Meta Worms Court had a joint tea party, including traditional hamantaschen, to celebrate the occasion. Staff got into the Purim spirit too by donning festive wigs.

At jLiving’s Daniel Court, staff baked hamenstaschen for tenants, who helped decorate them and gave them the thumbs-up all round.

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