JTA — A local NAACP chapter complained that Jewish children in Lakewood, New Jersey, dressed in racist costumes during Purim.
The chapter was seeking a meeting with leaders of the township’s large ultra-Orthodox community after seeing photographs of children wearing blackface, Afro wigs and Black Lives Matter sweatshirts during Friday’s celebrations.
On Sunday, the Lakewood Vaad, or rabbinical association, issued a statement, first reported by The Lakewood Scoop, condemning the wearing of blackface and explaining the religious and evolving cultural context for the celebrations.
“Dressing as a member of another culture was once part of Purim and pictures of old show Jews innocently costumed on Purim as Romans, Greeks, Cossacks, Arabs, and as members of other groups,” the statement read in part. “Today, this is seen as offensive, and we are sensitive to the feelings of other groups. Dressing in blackface is particularly inappropriate and offensive, and should never be done.”