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Picture special: Haredi Jews dress up for Purim festival in Stamford Hill

PUBLISHED: 13:31 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:43 13 March 2017

Boys standing in the back of an open truck driving down Fairholt Road, during the Jewish holiday Purim on March 12 2017. Photo: Catherine Davison

Boys standing in the back of an open truck driving down Fairholt Road, during the Jewish holiday Purim on March 12 2017. Photo: Catherine Davison

Catherine Davison

Youngsters came out on the streets of Stamford Hill in fancy dress to mark the end of the Purim Orthodox Jewish festival yesterday.

The annual religious celebration marks the foiling of an attempt by an ancient Persian King to wipe out the Jewish population 2,500 years ago as recorded in the Book of Esther.

It is celebrated by Jewish communities around the world with parades, loud music, gifts and fancy dress.

Rabbi Avraham Pinter, 68, joined his seven children and their offspring in his Stamford Hill home – but has lost count of how many were there.

“To be honest I don’t know how many grandchildren I’ve got,” he told the Gazette.

“It’s something which you don’t count - it’s not lucky to count. It’s not superstitious, it’s just that when they were up to 20 I counted. It is well above that now.

“We had two celebration meals during the day and we sing together - it’s a real family day and it’s particularly nice where my grandchildren get to know each other better.

“It was a wonderful day and the kids loved it. It’s more for the kids than us adults. It’s a good day as long as people didn’t drink too much.”

Extra police were drafted out around the community because of security fears within the community. The threat to the Orthodox Jewish community is classed nationally as ‘severe’.

The four religious requirements on Purim include giving a charity donation for the poor, giving presents, eating a celebratory meal and reading the Book of Esther.

Rabbi Abraham Pinter explained: “It’s a happy day because everybody believed they would be totally obliterated in one day and that day became a day to rejoice.

“Dressing up is not a religious requirement, but giving money to the poor - although one is supposed to do this all the time - it is a commandment on the Purim.

“Phenomenal sums of money are given to charities in Stamford Hill on that day.”

He continued: “What I’m hearing from the people who were collecting for charity this year, is it’s even better than last year when it was over a million pounds. Our local charities are celebrating.

“I don’t know about an exact figure but Brexit doesn’t seem to have had a negative effect.”

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