Each year for the past ten or so years, a loose collective of NYC-based artists and activists have come together to produce a multi-media performance party based on the ritual and text of the Jewish holiday Purim. Originally the brainchild of Yiddish revivalist Adrienne Cooper (may her name be for a blessing), it has been spearheaded by spectacle artist Jenny Romaine, and sponsored by Romaine’s theater collective (Great Small works) in collaboration, often, with two radical Jewish organizations, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Workmen’s Circle.
Over the years, the collective that organizes this annual event has come to call itself the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee. "Aftselokhes" is a Yiddish word meaning both out of spite and in spite of. (For more on the word see this conversation Mendele: Yiddish Language and Conversation listserve.) The word captures the importance of Yiddishkayt to the event's organizers, as well as their activist, punk, and Do-It-Yourself commitments.