In the newest five-star hotel in Kiev, Ukraine, the “Fairmont Grand Hotel”, the red carpet came out yet again at the annual Purim Party hosted by local businessman Raphael and his wife Devorah Rutman.
The guests were invited to the “International” themed event had all been invited to represent different countries, with young and old alike getting in on the fun and dressing up in costumes from over 35 different countries around the world.
Rabbis and Shluchim from different cities in Ukraine, public figures, dignitaries and representatives from the local and international business communities all joined together to sing, dance, and be merry. As well as hearing from Raphael Rutman about the importance of Purim and it’s relevance today in the lives of each and every one of us, each guest was able to also fulfill all four mitzvos of the day.
The evening began with a Megillah reading, using a unique, one of a kind illustrated Megillah by a famous American artist, generously on loan by one of the local members of the Jewish community for the occasion, accompanied by a special Hollywood film production showing the complete story of Purim for the children to watch.
After ritual hand washing to fulfill the second mitzvah of the day, the festive meal, the guests proceeded into the ballroom decorated with flags of many different countries. Once the guests had been seated, they were ready to fulfill the third mitzvah of Purim: before starting their meal, everyone was instructed to pick up their plate of hors d’oeuvres which had been specially designed using three different brachot.
Each guest was then requested to “gift” their neighbor with their plate and receive their friend’s in return, thereby fulfilling the mitzvah of mishloach manot, gifts of food to a friend.
In keeping with tradition, the host and hostess went around the table greeting and introducing all the guests from the different countries in their relevant languages – to the surprise and laughter of all the guests.
For the fourth and last mitzvah of the day, Rabbi Yossi Glick, head of Tzivos Hashem youth movement in Ukraine, made an appeal to raise money for the Jewish Orphanages in Ukraine. From grandparents to teenagers, everyone opened their pockets to give what they could to their young Jewish brothers and sisters in need.
The participants enjoyed a 5 course meal as well as separate adult’s and children’s programs, with the evening packed with singing, dancing and different shows.
The highlight was, of course, the annual “Purim’s Got Talent” competition. Each and every guest was invited to walk down the red carpet, to the accompaniment of the national anthem of the country they were representing, while the judges, themselves famous names in fashion and television, scored their costumes.
Every child received a prize, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in both Children’s and Adult’s Divisions receiving both trophies and prizes.
The party continued on until the wee hours, with the guests reluctant to leave as Kiev celebrated Purim in true “International” style.