June 21, 2024
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Adath Israel Reimagines Purim

A global pandemic was not going to stop the Adath Israel community of Hillside/Elizabeth from celebrating Purim with enthusiasm. While the celebration looked different than in years past, Purim 2021 was an occasion the shul’s membership will always remember.

With the traditional Purim eve chagigah off the table due to the coronavirus, the shul turned to a unique idea instead: a post-Megilla-reading drive-in concert. Orchestrated by youth directors Alyssa and Yoni Sheer and a team of dedicated volunteers, the community celebrated a joyous Purim, pandemic style. As families drove into the parking lot of the Union Y, which graciously lent its facilities for the event, they were greeted with “Break-fast in a Box”packages for each attendee, delicious wraps and many bottles of juice and water. There were also plenty of glow sticks for the children.

Families honked their car horns, popped up through skylights, danced near their vehicles, and sat on the hoods of their cars as they clapped and cheered. Benny Amar, along with DJ Hillel Kapnick, kept the music festive throughout the evening, resulting in a safe, socially distant and fun experience for all.

This year, Purim was also enhanced by a beautiful mishloach manot delivery on Purim morning to every Adath Israel family, overseen by the shul sisterhood. Over 30 separate Megilla readings were held around the community to ensure everyone had the opportunity to hear the Megilla in compliance with all coronavirus-safety precautions.

While this was far from a traditional Purim, hard work and creative thinking allowed AI to properly fulfil all the mitzvot of Purim and provided an avenue to celebrate together despite the current circumstances. Achdus truly can overcome even the most significant challenges. “We knew we couldn’t have our usual Purim events this year,” AI member Keshet Starr commented, “but we found new opportunities and ways to celebrate. This was certainly a Purim to remember!”

By Ryan Sullivan

 

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