No Surprise: Cops and Kallahs Are Purim’s Hottest Costumes

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xmas-purim-costumes-smallThe Brooklyn Paper reports: Forget ghosts and witches – the most popular costumes for this year’s Purim are cops and kallahs.

Williamsburg’s Jews will celebrate Purim next Thursday by attending shul, raising money for religious schools, baking kosher cookies, and – most importantly for the kids – wearing colorful costumes.

For the past week, a stream of Satmar families clothed in black wool suits and skirts have mobbed the neighborhood’s toy stores, eager to pick out the perfect gowns and uniforms for their children.

And Lee Avenue’s Toys 4 U, which has branches in Williamsburg and Borough Park, is at the center of the scrum.

“It’s a happy holiday – children get presents and collect money for charity,” said Toys 4 U proprietor Joseph Itzkowitz, who isn’t picky when it comes to costumes. “Whatever costume parents buy, that’s my favorite,” he said.

Jews throughout the world have used the occasion of their deliverance to dress up in fun outfits.

Law enforcement and weddings aren’t the only popular themes – some revelers find inspiration in history.

“The story of Purim is about princesses and kings,” said United Jewish Organizations director David Niederman. “This is a way for kids to understand the story of Purim and participate.”

That explains another of the year’s top sellers: princess dresses.

“Everybody wants to be a princess and dreams about being a queen,” said Miriam Itzkowitz, of Toys 4 U. “One day, she can be a princess.”

Boys reached for military camouflage, black frocks, and, most often, police uniforms.

“They see police on the street, there are a lot of them, and they know who they are,” said Joseph Itzkowitz.

Families with toddlers were aiming for all things sweet, grabbing adorable strawberry, apple, and honeybee costumes.

For older kids, the holiday has less to do with costumes than community service.

Many teenage boys will spend Purim driving around Williamsburg with rented RVs, trying to raise cash for their yeshivas.

“It’s a big day for fundraising,” said Gary Schlesinger, of the Jewish community organization UJcare, who claims each RV raises about $10,000. “They dress up and go around hitting up wealthy donors in the community for $300 or $400.”

And unmarried young girls often walk door-to-door with their parents to raise money and hand out hamentaschen, stuffed cabbage, and other treats.

That said, most do their charitable works while wearing colorful wigs and clown-like get-ups.

“I’m going to wear something very different, very colorful,” said Tzvi Lazar, who was helping families pick out costumes for their children at Toys 4 U. “I’ll have white and pink pants, an orange shirt, and rainbow socks.”

“My son, who is 2-and-a-half, is going to be a rebbe, and my 4-year-old daughter is going to be a kallah, with a fancy bridal gown,” said Williamsburg resident David Gross. “Last year she was a strawberry shortcake.”

{The Brooklyn Paper/ Newscenter}


  1. I believe that it is a picture from Meah Shearim. They had no clue who Santa was! This was just a pretty costume for the whole family.

  2. in ERETZ YISREL they don’t know what the red costume means just like on sucos they have blinking colored lights in the suka they think its cute

  3. @eli-
    its a family in israel who prob. grew up in bnei brak/meah shearim and doesnt know what its all about. I saw this pic a few years ago and i thought it was wrong too but then i realized that they prob. dont even know whats wrong.

  4. those are yerushalmi children who fotunately
    are very sheltered u think they know who that it probably was the cheapest costume on the rack dont jump 2 conclusions

  5. To eli,
    I remember this photo circulating some time ago with the explanation that someone in Israel that has no clue who santa is or what it stands for, thought it was cute to dress her kids in this little red grandfather! I do not beleive someone intentionally would dress their kids like that if they know who he is. Someone that saw this, took a picture and circulated it.

  6. regarding the picture- it is unfair to the family to post it. seems this family had absolutely no clue the meaning of this costume. living in a sheltered community i really believe that they found cute red costumes and decided to purchase. then an american saw them, got a kick over it, and passed this photo on to everyone. look into their eyes, they are an innocent family dressing up on purim.

  7. that pic was going around for years!! its taken in bnei brak..look at signs. the family found costumes on sale.. i promise they had no idea of the goyish element when wearing it..

  8. Living in EY, not only do they not know what Santa is, they probably decided to dress the kids up as dwarfs, which for a while was a popular costume here.

  9. This seems like a free plug for Toy’s 4 you! There are many other stores, here in Williamsburg that sell costumes. What’s pshat?


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