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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Students celebrate Purim with Drag Ball

Yesterday, the Student Alliance For Israel in association with Prism hosted a Drag Ball celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. The event included a drag show, a high-heeled shoe race, music, snacks and mask decorating.

The holiday of Purim celebrates the Biblical story of Queen Esther and Haman in which Esther reveals her true identity to the king of Persia in order to save the Jewish people from Haman’s plan to exterminate the Jewish people.

Molly Wernick, president of SAFI, said the Drag Show ties in with the story’s message of being honest about your identity.

“The Drag Ball sense of it was … you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are,” she said. “We’re just providing a medium for people to not be ashamed. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter what religious practice you are — just bring it.”

The Drag Ball combined the traditional celebration of the Jewish holiday by SAFI tied in with education about sexual orientation and gender identity by Prism.

Wernick said that Israel has done a great deal for gay rights within its borders.

“Israel does so much in the world of gay rights,” she said. Why not focus on something that’s not political for once and something that’s a country and its contributions.”

Prism president Catherine Kirchhoff said the organization normally holds a drag show at the Oasis dance club in Ithaca, but decided to collaborate with SAFI for the first time this semester.

“This year we decided we were going to reach out and work with a group we never worked with before,” she said. “We thought it would be a good time for [other] people to get involved with the show rather than just Prism.”

Freshman Maria Shishmanian said she enjoyed the event. During the drag show, she donned a fedora and suit jacket.

“It was a lot of fun I’m glad there were a lot of people here,” she said. “[It was] a good experience.”

The event also attracted some students from outside the organizations.

Junior Cam Scheible one of seven participants in the drag show said he does not belong to SAFI or Prism and found out about the event through friends.

“I have a bunch of friends who are part of SAFI,” he said. “I just did it because I thought it would be a lot of fun to dress in drag.”