Purim 2023: Multitudes to join in community Megillah readings
Holiday unity is urged in a time of intense political division.
(March 6, 2023 / JNS) Tens of thousands of Jews will attend public Megillah readings for the Purim holiday organized by two prominent Modern Orthodox organizations and taking place in hundreds of communities throughout Israel.
This year’s Megillah BaKehilla (“Megillah in the Community”) Purim program, led by the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization and the Ohr Torah Stone movement, focuses on the theme from the Purim Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, of “Come Together, Gather All the Jews,” in an effort to put aside political disputes for the holiday.
The program, now in its 13th year, includes new locations in Azrieli Malls where actors will act out the Purim story, aiming to make the holiday more accessible for the hearing-impaired, non-native Hebrew speakers and others. The community events will also distribute explanatory megillot (scrolls) and mishloach manot food baskets for those in attendance.
“In these challenging times, when we are witnessing the ever-widening rifts within Israeli society, these megillah readings provide an opportunity for all of us to come together to hear and embrace the heritage that is common to all Jews,” said Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, president and rosh yeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network.
“Whether they gather in synagogues, schools, community centers or malls, every family will find a way to connect with the holiday, its customs, and the values of social unity, and together we will feel connected and unified through this Jewish-Israeli experience,” said Brander.
Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar, said “this year as we approach Purim, we have a real reason to be concerned about the growing divide in the social fabric of our nation.”
He continued, saying “on Purim, where we learn about the power of national unity, we need to take a break from all the division and arguments and remember that we are one people in our homeland with a common destiny. Our sincere hope is that the calls of unity from the Purim story will light the path for the nation’s leaders when they come together to discuss the many divisive issues that stand before them at this time.”