Historic Snowstorm Barely Affects Purim Spirit

NEW YORK -
Boys keeping up the Purim spirit in Williamsburg despite the weather. (AP Photos/Mark Lennihan)
Boys keeping up the Purim spirit in Williamsburg despite the weather. (AP Photos/Mark Lennihan)

There was a driving rain throughout the night of Purim, about eight inches of snow falling by day, and frigid temperatures which felt like the single digits the night following.

But the three severe weather systems slamming Jewish neighborhoods was not enough to disturb the Purim atmosphere in areas such as Boro Park, Monsey and Lakewood.

Traffic inching down Boro Park’s 16th Avenue or Lakewood’s Clifton Avenue kept some people holed up at home. However, music still blared from passing RVs and hundreds of costume-clad groups raising funds for as many varied causes danced the night away through the whiteout conditions.

“This Purim is ‘traffic and weather together,’” joked Rabbi Yosef Hoizman of Lakewood.

A consortium of bears, clowns, Queen Esthers and Mordechais competed with more modern camouflages, such as Russian dashiks, Arab kafiahs and Turkish headdresses. A group of Hamans strung up on 41st Street in Boro Park was enveloped in snow, as was the traditional Yad Eliezer horse riding in Flatbush.

It did not appear that the huge sums distributed for tzedakah was diminished because of the weather. Moshe Yanki Friedman, a graphics artist at Hamodia, said that his teenage son went collecting with a group in Boro Park.

“He was not turned away at a single home because of the mess,” Friedman said.

Boys keeping up the Purim spirit in Williamsburg despite the weather. (AP Photos/Mark Lennihan)
Boys keeping up the Purim spirit in Williamsburg despite the weather. (AP Photos/Mark Lennihan)

Rabbi Yaakov Bleich said that he made up he would go around with his children delivering mishloach manos in Boro Park until 1:00 p.m., and then head home for the day.

“People told me this was the calmest Purim they ever had,” said Rabbi Bleich, who for many years spent Purim with his kehillah in Kiev. “They were able to stay home and be with their families.”

Residents struggled to recall the last time Purim was struck by such weather. There was snow on Purim day in 1992 and 1973, but no more than 2 to 3 inches. And it wasn’t nearly as cold.

“In the 50-plus years I’m on this world,” said Rebbetzin Esther Horowitz, the Melitzer Rebbetzin of Boro Park, “I don’t remember seeing such a snow on Purim.”

“This takes the cake,” she added.