Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Arts & Culture
Published on March 10, 2017
5 Ways To Party For Purim In San Francisco This WeekendPhoto: Shutterstock

Purim is one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar. In many ways it's the Jewish equivalent of Halloween. Jews around the world celebrate Purim to commemorate the failure of Haman, a prime minister under King Ahashverosh, to exterminate all Jewish people in ancient Persia.

Purim includes the reading of the Megillah (or the book of Esther), the ancient Hebraic tract that recounts the story of how Mordechai, the leader of the Jews, and Queen Esther saved their people from Haman. During Megillah readings, typically held at temples, it's customary to stamp your feet in unison whenever Haman's name is mentioned.

Purim is also a time to party. Jews are encouraged to wear costumes, drink wine, partake in sweet pastries and dance. If you like a good party, then Purim is the Jewish holiday you've been waiting for.

Here are a few parties happening around San Francisco this weekend to help Jews and non-Jews of all ages commemorate this year's Purim celebration right.

Congregation Sha'ar Zahav

Purim will no doubt be a drag in more ways than one when San Francisco's LGBT and allies synagogue Congregation Sha'ar Zahav throws its annual bash at 290 Dolores St.

The fun starts at 5pm Saturday with the making of mishloah manot (gift baskets), which can be distributed to family members and friends. Dinner will be served at 5:30pm. Instead of being charged for dinner, partygoers are encouraged to purchase Safeway and Target gift cards that will then be donated to LGBTQ refugees who are settling in the Bay Area.

The costume parade begins at 6:20pm, followed by the Megillah reading. And if you stick around after that, the real partying will begin.

"Crazy Purim" At Codeword

If you prefer more radical celebrations, you can always join nice Jewish boy Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke Ass Stuart, for Crazy Purim this Saturday night at SoMa's Codeword nightclub (917 Folsom St).

Promising "the best Purim party ever" for both Jews and non-Jews, Schuffman says the purpose of this holiday is simple: “Someone tried to kill us, they failed, so let’s celebrate.”

Crazy Purim will include "killer disco tunes" by the Go BANG! DJs and mini pizzas shaped like hamentashen, the traditional Purim pastry that's meant to represent Haman's ears.

The craziness runs from 9pm-1am.

Congregation Emanu-El

Congregation Emanu-El, at 2 Lake St., has big plans for the holiday this weekend.

The celebration kicks off at 4pm Saturday with a family carnival. From 6-7pm the congregation will perform "Hamiltoshin: A Purim Musical." The show will no doubt turn the hit musical "Hamilton" on it's head. 

After 7pm, youngsters are ushered home and the 21+ after party ensues.

Come 10am Sunday, the celebration continues with a reading of the Megillah at Golden Bear Trading Company (1401 6th Ave).

Haunted Haman House

Zehut, the local community group for young Jewish adults, is taking the holiday's Halloween comparison to its limits with Haunted Haman House at Haas-Lilienthal House (2007 Franklin St).

For $20-$25 a head, the party will include Megillah readings on the hour, live DJs, an open bar and hamentashen from 8:30pm to midnight. All are encouraged to "dress to scare."

"Purim Unmasked" At The Jewish Community Center

 The JCCSF celebrates Purim on Sunday afternoon with Purim Unmaskeda free party open to all that will combine old-fashioned family friendly fun with a dose of social justice. 

From 11am-2pm, the JCC invites the community to 3200 California St. for face painting, stilt walking, music, storytelling and more.

At the same time, the organization will help people sign up to volunteer with Glide Memorial Church's homeless outreach and food service programs. The JCC will also accept donations to the San Francisco Food Bank—it's a mitzvah (a good deed in the eyes of God).

Italian ices and deli snacks will be served, and you can also make your own hamantashen.

Happy Purim!