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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Bookstein

Hundreds Enjoy Purim Unity Event

Pico Shul and Chai Center team up to create free Hollywood Purim party

Purim partygoers at LA Purim Unity Party, March 16, 2022. Photo Y. Bookstein

The last major event Pico Shul organized before the pandemic forced the closing of communal gatherings and unleashed so much on the world — was a Purim Party. So it was with joy and gratitude that we gathered the community of Jewish singles and young professionals in Hollywood to celebrate Purim this year.

With a step and repeat and costume contest, the party fit into the Hollywood scene - except this party started with a megillah reading. Hundreds gathered for specialty purim cocktails, delicious hamantaschen, great conversations and lively fun.

"It was so wonderful to see so many people come together and have a good time, and raise funds for those in need," said Rachel Bookstein, Pico Shul co-director. "The perfect venue, a warm evening, and delicious cocktails made it a night to remember. And the costume contest brought down the house!"

On this special joyous night we gathered to also pray and raise funds for Jewish refugees from Ukraine and bring more joy, love, and unity to the Jewish community and the world. Funds raised were sent directly to those arranging transportation for those fleeing the war.

Rabbi Mendel and Esther Schwartz, arriving in police uniforms, have been running their own Purim parties for Jewish singles for many years, following in the path of their pioneering parents, Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz Z"L, and Rebbitzin Olivia Schwartz, who founded Chai Center more than 30 years ago. This year the Booksteins and the Schwartzs got together to make one big event.

"The Chai Center are amazing partners — we are lucky to be able to work together on this event, and others during the year such as Sundance and July 4th," said Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, Pico Shul co-founder. "One of the messages about Purim is Jewish unity, and we all felt that a UNITY party is what the community needs most!"

Thank you to our hosts St. Felix in Hollywood, our co-organizer Chai Center, and our event partners Fass Pass to Love, OU-JLIC.

(Have pictures from the party? Email them to

Rabbi Mendel Schwartz and Rabbi Yonah Bookstein during the Purim Unity Party raising funds for those in need, March 16, 2022. Photo by Jonah Light

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