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Travel

Happy Purim

North East London’s Stamford Hill is home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish population. The area is brimming with bearded, sweaty men wearing black suits and furry hats and pale-faced, bewigged women, who are usually pushing baby carriages...
July 1, 2011, 12:00am

North East London’s Stamford Hill is home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish population. The area is brimming with bearded, sweaty men wearing black suits and furry hats and pale-faced, bewigged women, who are usually pushing baby carriages. Once a year, in March, this otherwise secluded and solemn community lets loose to celebrate Purim. According to sages of the Talmud, during Purim celebrations men must drink until they can no longer distinguish between “blessed be Mordecai” and “cursed be Haman.” The streets fill up with kids dressed as strawberries, brave little Annies, and characters from the book of Esther. They danced around us, lighting firecrackers and asking, “Hey, can you put us on the front page of the

Jewish Tribune?” “No,” we said, “but we can put you in another, slightly different publication.”