Hundreds of costumed young adults expected at Purimpalooza

by | Feb 23, 2015 | What’s Happening

Saturday, March 7, 8 pm, Sandler Family Campus

“The party of the year.”

Purimpalooza hasn’t taken place yet, but the buzz from those who have gone to community-wide, Jewish, young adult holiday parties like this one in the past five years, say that it shouldn’t be missed—it’s going to be epic.

Hosted by the Young Adult Division of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, guests are encouraged to wear costumes— as simple or elaborate as desired—in the tradition of the holiday of Purim.

Planned for the young adult set, 22-45 years old, party guests will be an eclectic mix of Jewish professionals, students, couples, singles, and run the gamut of Jewish affiliations and observance levels. Everyone’s welcome; hundreds are expected.

David Calliott hasn’t figured out his costume yet, but he’s not letting that stop him from making plans to attend with his girlfriend.

“I got my tickets early—as soon as they went on sale, because I knew I definitely would go and didn’t want to miss out if they sold out—last year’s was packed,” says Calliott.

“If you go to only one Jewish social event a year, this is definitely the one you want to go to,” he says.

The carnivale-themed Purim party features a live band, gourmet, sweet and savory Kosher hamantaschen, an open bar, costume contests, photo ops and more, promise its organizers.

Co-chairs of the event, Beth Gerstein and Ashley Zittrain, have been working on making this the best YAD holiday party to date, and are eager to share what they’ve created with others, as well as enjoy the evening with friends.

“People are going to be surprised when they come in and see the Cardo at the Campus totally transformed,” says Zittrain. “While the party’s in a place some of the people who are coming are familiar with, it will look and feel vastly different.”

“We have some great things planned for the evening—we don’t want to reveal it all, but I can say we’re going to have some entertainment that’s not seen at a lot of parties,” Gerstein says.

Ashley and Shawn Lemke are planning to go, and are already deep in the pre-Purimpalooza costume planning phase.

“We went to the last two Chanukah parties and I’m excited to see what they pull off for Purimpalooza , because the other two have been so impressive,” says Ashley.

“We’ve been discussing costumes, a lot, and we’ll definitely be dressing up. Our first thought was to go as Erykah Badu and Lenny Kraviitz, but I think people will just guess that we’re Sonny and Cher, so we’ll probably come up with something else,” she says.

While Purimpalooza reflects YAD’s inclusive and relaxed, fun-loving attitude— with a big emphasis on building connections among young adult Jews—it’s also a shout-out to Israel and its worldwide reputation for partying on Purim, not unlike New Orleans on Mardi Gras.

Almost every city, neighborhood and family in Israel participates or hosts Purim activities and everyone dresses in costume for the occasion.

“In my hometown, they would close down the main road for an hour or two, and everyone would come out and join in a parade, and then go to a big party together,” says Michal Newman, a native of Kiryat Tivon who now lives in Tidewater.

“Everyone, I mean everyone, wears costumes— they could be princesses, or Star Wars, Minnie Mouse, cowboys, or something movie related. Purim in Israel is lots of fun, lots of music, and lots of costumes!” she says.

Tickets for Purimpalooza are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. I.D.s are required for entry. To reserve tickets or for more information, visit, or email 757-965-6127. Like the YAD on Facebook page—see who may be coming and check out the update posts—costume ideas, too, can be found at

by Laine M. Rutherford