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Ukraine celebrates Purim with costumes and dancing, as war drags on

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of people gathered in a synagogue in Kyiv this weekend to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, more than two years into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Following Purim tradition, adults and children wore flashy and colorful costumes that stood out amid the grim reality of war waiting outside the synagogue.

During the week preceding the holiday, two massive missile attacks hit Kyiv, injuring 13 people and damaging civilian infrastructure.

But members of the local Jewish community gathered to celebrate the holiday and life itself.

At the Great Choral Synagogue in the historic neighborhood of Pudil, decorated with balloons and party lights, was filled with cheerful laughter, upbeat music and dance that didn’t stop for a moment. The tables were set and ready for the guests to enjoy snacks and drinks.

The holiday of Purim marks the victory of Jews over a tyrant in ancient Persia and is traditionally celebrated with costumes and parties.

Some 2,500 years after the holiday originated, the Jewish community in Kyiv is forced to celebrate this holiday under the constant threat of aerial attack, like people across Ukraine.

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These photos were taken by AP photographer Vadim Ghirda.

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