Community celebrates at Chabad’s ‘Purim in Israel’
While practicing health precautions amid the start of the coronavirus crises in New York, more than 120 community members gathered to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim at Chabad’s "Purim in Israel" community party on Tuesday, March 10.
The event, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, was held at the Town of Monroe Senior Center.
The Israel-themed party offered an Israeli buffet dinner – including falafel, shawarma, Mergez, bourekas, hummus and Israeli salads. The “Sweets from the Shuk” featured Israeli desserts such as halva, dried fruits, nuts, candy as well as Hamantashen, the traditional Purim Pastry.
There was also a “Juice in Jaffa” station of freshly squeezed orange juice, as well as an Israeli juice tasting station.
There was also a masquerade with prizes.
The entertainer for the event was an interactive drum circle with percussionist Marlon Sobol. Other highlights included photos at the “Western Wall,” arts and crafts and Israeli Music.
The four commandments
The festive event offered participants to partake in the four mitzvot (commandments) of Purim:
Megillah. Reading the Scroll of Esther, chronicling the Purim story of Mordechai and Esther’s victory over villain Haman’s plot to annihilate the Jewish people. Rabbi Pesach, dressed as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, read the megillah from the Scroll of Esther. During the reading, there was a silent slide-show, illustrating the Purim story. When the name of Haman, the villain, in the Purim story was mentioned, his name was “booed” with traditional “graggers” (noisemakers), as well as jumping of giant bubble wrap unrolled on the dance floor.
Mishloach Manot. Gifts of food, to be exchanged with friends on Purim. Chabad prepared packaged of “El Al Flight Snacks” for participants to share with fellow “passengers.”
Matanot L’evyomin. Charity for the needy.
Mishteh. Festive Feast
Chabad’s original spin on this age-old holiday has helped bring the spirit of Purim to Orange County year after year.
"It combines ancient Jewish traditions with a modern twist," said Chana Burston. "We focus on doing interesting and innovative programs that will maximize the enjoyment for young and old alike, yet still keeping with the holiday theme.”
The Burstons, who has been in the area since 2004, say they hope people come away having not only been able to fulfill the mitzvahs of Purim, but that they take an all-encompassing message with them as well. “We hope people discover that Judaism is not about ‘oy,’ but about ‘joy.’”
Purim was made possible thanks to the volunteers, sponsors and participants. Volunteers: Ira Kanis, Hillary Cohen, the Burston children and the dedicated Yeshiva Boys of Mesivta Lubavitch of Monsey. Sponsors: Al Muhlrad, Lee and Michelle Sentell, Henry and Samira Galler, Michael and Corbett Hoffman, Brigitte Glasser, Gil and Phyllis Goetz, Ira and Karen Kanis and Steven and Anita Reich.
Events scheduled at area senior homes were canceled due to coronavirus precautions.
Instead, Chabad sent the volunteer Yeshiva boys to bring Purim to those who could not come to Purim.
For more info about Chabad’s community programs and events, contact Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston at 845-782-2770, write rabbi@ChabadOrange.com or log onto www.ChabadOrange.com.