Unforgettable purim bash!
Литература | Публицистика

It all began when the teenagers at the JCCA\'s Bukharian Teen Lounge started to complain that we had not had a party in a long time.

We all needed a day to relax, spend time with friends, and dance the night away. I myself was one of the most annoying complainers there. Zhanna Beyl, Coordinator for Bukharian Teen Services, responded by saying if we wanted a party, we had to take charge ourselves. Many teens backed out and refused. Seeing that Purim was coming up, I decided that I would organize the whole event and throw the best party ever experienced by the Lounge. Many of the Lounge–goers and I discussed the idea of incorporating Purim into our party. Most of the Israeli teens brought up their childhood experiences and spoke about how they used to celebrate Purim in Israel. The listeners longed to have an experience to remember.

Taking all of this into consideration, I felt as if it all seemed too easy: book a DJ, buy decorations and food, and advertise. I was calm and cool until two weeks before the big day when schoolwork and event planning became difficult to handle at the same time. I was nervous that people would not show up even though they all agreed to. I created a Facebook event and handed out flyers to advertise the party. I even coerced my Hebrew teacher into giving out flyers to all of her students. In my spare time I ran back and forth from the party store to the supermarket to buy all of the supplies. I forgot what a good night\'s sleep felt like.

The hardest thing was convincing people to wear costumes. Many teens think they are too old for this. I, personally, think it is an opportunity to have fun and be creative. To encourage everyone we created a costume contest with three grand prizes. This definitely boosted people\'s eagerness to come in costume. With the help of a few close friends, Dina Yusupova, Palina Suyunova, and Eli Niazov, I wrote, produced, and acted in a short skit called Purim in Bukhara, which we premiered at the party.

On the day of the event, I was going ballistic. I did not know which issue to deal with first. I ran home from school to grab my suitcase full of costumes. When I arrived at the Lounge, the food had already been delivered. Zhanna Beyl, her colleague T. Charnan Lewis, some teens, and I went to set up the party room with decorations and food. The party was to begin at six o\'clock but people didn\'t start arriving until seven. I was so worried that people would not come; I almost began to cry. DJ Legacy and his crew were set up and waiting for their cue to begin. I was so out of it that I forgot to put on my costume!

Around eight o\'clock the room was filled with seventy–five guests, shaking and moving to techno beats. For the first time in a month, I felt accomplished. I was so proud that I could pull off an event successfully! Everyone had a great time. I tried to have fun here and there, but somehow something always came up, so I continued running around making sure things were going smoothly. We even managed to mix up the generations a bit. A couple of senior citizens joined our party and danced with more passion than some of the teens themselves! At the end of the night, friends and people I have never met before came up to me saying how excited they were for the next party. Much effort and energy was spent on preparing our Purim Bash, but it was all worth it!

I had the capacity to create a uniquely Bukharian atmosphere at our celebration. It is significant that we were able to continue our Bukharian Jewish traditions and adapt them to life in the United States, where many of us feel like strangers. Our Bukharian community is very strong, and it is the people of the community that gave me the strength and passion to take a stand and create an event where we can dance our festive dances, enjoy traditional music, and express our voices through theatre. And after all, celebrating our ability to maintain Jewish lives in a non– Jewish country is what the story of Purim is all about.

If you would like to take part in our exciting future events, send an email to bukharianteens@ jccany.org.


Oksana Avizova has been involved in JCCA\'s Bukharian Teen Lounge for three years. She is an active member of the Youth Leadership Council and she participated in the Summer Internship Experience program sponsored by JCCA.

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