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Collecting for a Cause

C. B. Lieber

Gorilla suits and grammen… Meet the bochurim who go collecting on Purim, the day when anyone who asks for tzedakah is given it, no questions asked

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

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Purple shirts, gorilla suits, and grammen… It’s all part of the shtick pulled off by the bochurim who go collecting on Purim, the day when anyone who asks for tzedakah is given it, no questions asked. 

So throw on a party hat, join the crowd, and raise some funds for a worthy cause! Here’s how they do it.

Time Is Money

Name: Noach Tessler

Age when collected: 14–15

Place: Brooklyn, New York

Collected for: My yeshivah

Number of boys in the group: 20 (my whole class)

We used to get around on Purim by… renting a comfortable party bus to drive us around. (We needed a push because the money wasn’t coming to us!)

The most successful props or costumes we ever used were… We weren’t into costumes, but we all tried getting a different type of funny hat and other accessories like that. The best year was when we had two boys playing music, one on a keyboard and the other on a drum; that made everyone stop and look. We had it worked out exactly, who carried what, so that the setup would go one-two-three, since on Purim more than any other day time is money.

The time of day we went collecting… At night we started out an hour after Megillah till after midnight, and by day we went from noon until about nine p.m.


The most unexpected donation we ever got… One year, for some reason, it took almost an hour to load the bus. Everyone was waiting at their pickup points and cell phones weren’t really in use yet, so boys were running home to try to touch base and then running back to their stops so as not to miss the bus. All in all, we started out about an hour and a half later than planned, and we felt very frustrated. We entered the first house on the list and danced with all our might, and then we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw a very generous check being written out. We all danced out the door feeling a bit more relaxed.

My advice for other collectors is… The most important thing is to be organized. A month before Purim we started gathering addresses of anyone we thought would donate. Then we created a route. Since Boro Park is mostly one-way streets, we had to work out how not to waste time by circling these narrow streets full of traffic. It was also very important to know in advance if anyone had specific hours when collectors could come, so we didn’t go through traffic and then arrive at a locked door!

I’d still be collecting this year if… I’m married now so I don’t go collecting anymore, but if I were asked by a group to join them I would. You’re having a good time while collecting for great purposes! 

A Kiddush Hashem

Name: Shimmy S.

Age when collected: 16–18

Place: Toronto, Canada

Collected for: My yeshivah

Number of boys in the group: 5–6 

We used to get around on Purim by… We hired a non-Jewish driver. 

The most successful props or costumes we ever used were… We didn’t do official costumes, just whatever worked. Sometimes it was beketshes, sometimes whatever we had in the closet that was classy and interesting. We also never sang Purim songs! We would sing things from other Yamim Tovim like “Yevanim” or just random songs. People enjoyed it a lot, because our goal was always to put people at ease and make them smile. (excerpted)

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