On March 11, 2017, Ohel Avraham had twice the topsy turvy Purim fun with two Megillah readings! Ohel Avraham celebrates Purim each year, but this was the first year with two celebrations.
The first reading was for families with young children. Many of the children attends Leo Baeck pre-schools, where Rabbi Na’ama visits every month for Rosh Hodesh. For the new month of Adar, Rabbi Na’ama told the Purim story with the children (focusing on brave queen Vashti that said “NO – my body belongs to me!” to the powerful king) and invited them to come to the community-wide megillah reading with their parents. The students brought an extra dose of Purim fun to the family megillah reading: each grade prepared a Purim song to perform! Yafit Markovitz, Director of Early Childhood Division at Leo Baeck Education Center, said her favorite part of the megillah reading was seeing the children on the stage dancing with each other and their parents. It was evident that the children feel at home and comfortable in the sanctuary.
The second reading, for congregants and community members of all ages, featured a twist on the megillah reading. The story was projected on a large screen so that everyone could read along. In between sections, the rabbis enthusiastically initiated singing, with the song selections ranging from “I Will Survive” to Israeli hits to Purim songs. This definitely captured the spirit of the holiday! Speaking of spirit, the costumes did not disappoint. People of all ages broke out their finest wigs, makeup, and accessories. Particularly entertaining costumes included a cactus and a box of popcorn.
At the end of the reading, everyone got up from their seats and started dancing. Following the revelry, the community brought in the new week with a Purim-themed havdalah ceremony and a kiddush, complete with hamantaschen, chocolate, popcorn, and cakes. Most people in attendance contributed sweets, so there was no shortage of diversity! If you’re ever in Israel for a Jewish holiday, come join in the festivities at Ohel Avraham.
Written by Talia Kaplan