Five best Purim parties

Do yourself a mitzvah and party hard during the most debaucherous of Jewish holidays.

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  • Photograph: Schneur Menaker

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    Shemspeed

  • Photograph: Clay Williams

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    I Love Vinyl

  • Photograph: Courtesy the New Shul

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    New Shul

  • Photograph: Danielle Parhizkaran

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Photograph: Schneur Menaker

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Shemspeed

Purim, which begins at sundown on Saturday 19, commemorates the victory of the Jewish people who foiled a royal plan for their own annihilation (as outlined in the book of Esther, also known as the Megillah). But lest you think the holiday is simply about pious observance, know this: Purim parties typically involve dressing up in a costume, chowing down on sweets (including hamantaschen, a filled tricornered pastry) and drinking a boatload of wine—and the debauchery is all sanctioned by the Lord. Plan your outfit now—the sillier the better—and shake your gragger at these events.

Purim Masquerade
Get down to a plethora of world-music superstars during this dance party, hosted by indie record label Shemspeed. Label founder (and artist) Diwon promises sets that fuse hip-hop and Israeli music, including a performance from African-American Orthodox Jewish hip-hop artist Y-Love. "The whole place is going to transform into a dance floor," says Diwon. Local school sponsors Baruch, Hunter and Queens College will provide masks and hamantaschen, among other surprises. Drom, 85 Ave A between 5th and 6th Sts (212-777-1157). Thu 17 at 9pm; $10, advance $8.

Purim Carnival: I Love Vinyl (Couches)
Relive the holiday celebrations of your childhood (but with a healthy dose of drinking and dancing) at 92YTribeca's grown-up bash. "When I was kid, the gravy part was waiting for the story to end and then running to the other room and playing all the games," says Rabbi Dan Ain of the 92nd Street Y. "We're going to focus on the running-to-the-other-room-to-play part." Sip on a passion-fruit margarita ($8)—an adult version of the traditional Purim punch—as you try your hand at carnival games like Pop-a-Shot. Meanwhile, DJs Scribe and Jon Oliver of semiregular dance party I Love Vinyl will be spinning LPs, with an eclectic mix of hip-hop, soul, funk, electro and old-school house. 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St at Canal St (212-601-1000, 92ytribeca.org). Sat 19 at 9pm; $20.

The Folies Esthere Purim Extravaganza
"On this holiday, you're commanded to get so drunk that you don't know the difference between right and wrong," says Amy Eichenwald, executive director of the New Schul, the organization behind this holiday bacchanal. The name is a play on the Folies Bergre, the French nightclub famous for hosting dancers in elaborate, revealing costumes; in keeping with the theme, the hall will be kitted out like a cross between the sexy club and a Persian palace. Drag queen Candy Samples will perform her own version of the Purim story (it involves backup dancers) while you consume wine, hamantaschen and falafel. Creatively costumed attendees can also compete for the crown in the gender-neutral beauty contest. The New Schul, 272 W 10th St at Greenwich St (212-284-6773, newshul.org). Sat 19 at 7pm; $10, members free.

A Knight with the King: Purim in Persia Party
Purim is already a fairly debauched holiday, what with all the drinking and dancing; but the saucy folks behind KinkyJews take it a step further with their naughty extravaganza. "It's all about sexuality and stimulation of the senses," explains KJ's founder and event organizer Naomi D. "Anything goes." Get there early to partake in a free liquor sampling; stay through the night to enjoy 69 hookah flavors, authentic Middle Eastern dance music and an atmosphere tailored to the usual KinkyJews revelry. Babel Lounge and Hookah Bar, 131 Ave C between 8th and 9th Sts (kinkyjews.com). Sun 20 at 7pm; $15, with costume $5.

A Very CHERYL Purim Dance Party
Who better to throw a ridiculous Purim shindig than CHERYL? The Brooklyn quartet—known for elaborate costumes and goofy theme parties (past events have somehow riffed on 7-Eleven and Cheetos)—throws this shindig at the Jewish Museum, where sweet dance jams will be spun, and sweets and Purim punch will be consumed. Donning your own elaborate outfit is encouraged, but there'll be costume-making materials on hand for those in drab attire. "We're going to go down to the dollar store and go crazy," says CHERYL member Destiny Pierce. Once you're appropriately gussied-up, pose with members of the collective in a tableau vivant depicting the Biblical tale. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org). Mar 24 8:30--11pm; $15.

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