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Last Sunday, Jewish communities across Belarus hosted Purim celebrations. Featuring singing, dancing, and fancy dress, the festivities brought smiles and laughter across Belarus.

Purim is one of Belarus’ best-loved festivals. In the UK the greatest significance is placed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but in Belarus Purim and Chanukah never fail to draw the biggest crowds. These two festivals celebrate the triumph of the Jewish people over adversity and persecution. In a country where religious freedom is a very new concept (with religion having been banned during the Soviet years until 1991) and the future of Jewish communities is far from secure, these themes resonate all the more strongly.

Polotsk

The Polotsk Jewish Community’s celebrations took place during its Sunday School. The children made masks and musical shakers, which they showed off in songs and dances to spectacular effect.

Bobruisk

In Bobruisk, the community’s young members enjoyed a day of arts and crafts, creating masks for the Purim tradition of fancy dress.

Brest

The Jewish Community of Brest celebrated in style, with a reading of the Megillah, impressive fancy dress – and maybe a vodka or two.