Watch the full report from WTVR CBS 6 Photojournalist Joe Valdez in the video player above.
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — An independent-progressive Jewish community of Richmond called Kehillah held its third annual Purim Party Saturday evening.
The Jewish holiday officially begins Monday at sundown and stems from the Book of Esther, which is part of the Hebrew Bible.
Rabbi Patrick Beaulier, who founded Kehillah with his wife, described the celebration as a combination between Mardi Gras and Halloween.
The couple designed the party to be inclusive, and you don’t need to know Hebrew either as Rabbi Beaulier offered an interactive reading of the Book of Esther in English.
Point 5, Richmond’s first alcohol-free bottle shop, created an upscale, alcohol-free Purim cocktail bar. Festivities also included hors d’oeuvres and hamantaschen cookies, a free create-your-own Purim gift bag (mishloach manot) booth and a donation Judaica store.
Everyone was invited regardless of the faith you identify with.
“Sometimes people are a little nervous. They don’t know if they are going to fit in,” Rabbi Beaulier explained. “We tried to really get out in front of that by telling people in every single event — whether it’s one of our Shabbat services, a holiday event, or class — no Hebrew experience is required. You don’t have to be a member of our synagogue."