May 17, 2024
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Anshe Chesed Has Special Purim Celebration

(Courtesy of Anshe Chesed, Linden) With the war going on in Israel this year, the hostages still in captivity and so many people suffering, the synagogue community knew they couldn’t celebrate Purim as usual this year.

About two months before Purim, Rabbi Yossi Katz realized that there were about 60 amudim in Mesechet Megillah, just about the number of days remaining until Purim. He asked, “How about the congregation learn Mesechet Megillah together, an amud a day, in merit of the safe release of the hostages?” And that’s what Anshe Chesed did. Katz posted a shiur a day on his Amud Yomi podcast, short enough to be listened to on an average commute. On Shabbosim, the shiur was given in shul.

And then together, at the Purim chagiga, the entire congregation celebrated as the rabbi and five shul members (Michael Newman, Daz Zell, Judah and Tova Loewenstein, and Mindy Schaper) completed the hadran. It was a meaningful moment. For many, it was their first time completing a Mesechet and their first time learning Gemara at all. “We were motivated by the hostages,” they said.

In addition to the siyum, the congregation completed sefer Tehillim and sang “Acheinu” together, which then led into celebratory dancing in honor of the siyum and in joyous celebration of Purim.

An empty table for the hostages with their pictures was also set and the shul’s annual mishloach manot packages were Israel themed, bearing an Israeli flag and containing an Israeli flag as well as reminders to say brachot for the zechus of specific hostages.

The shul prays to celebrate with them together in freedom and peace next year.

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