Where Purim costumes go to recycle

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Children who want to dress as a, from left, high priest, Dalmatian or bride, need look no further than Bracha Orlansky’s Purim gemach. Photo provided
Children who want to dress as a, from left, high priest, Dalmatian or bride, need look no further than Bracha Orlansky’s Purim gemach.
Photo provided

Esther. Mordecai. Haman. Spiderman?

Yes, Kemp Mill resident Bracha Orlansky carries superhero costumes in addition to those of figures from the Purim story. They’re all available to be borrowed for Purim.


“I have a large supply of costumes that we lend out to people this time of year,” she says. “People don’t use them again after one year, so they donate them to us.”

People sort through the inventory to choose what to borrow.

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The service Orlansky provides from her Silver Spring basement is called a gemach, an acronym for gemilut hasadim, or acts of lovingkindness. A gemach offers free loans to the community, either in funds or items. It could be described as a Jewish recycling agency.

Orlansky keeps the costumes in storage boxes, and before Purim, which will begin at sundown on March 23, she takes them out and puts them on display. Community members come in by appointment and borrow whatever they need.


Orlansky says she started the Purim gemach four years ago when the owner of a children’s clothing gemach got overwhelmed by the volume of clothes and asked if anyone wanted to take over the Purim costume section. Orlansky volunteered.

So what does she have in stock?

Says Orlansky: “I have a lot of costumes for young children that are animals, like furry animals. And then I have a large section of characters like superheroes. A lot of Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, Spiderman, that kind of thing.”

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@JoshMarks78

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