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“Learning Together, Reading Megilla Together”

by Reut Hadar | 22/3/2019

Women’s readings of Megillat Esther on Purim have become commonplace over the years, but this reading is especially unique. Each year, all of the various programs at Ohr Torah Stone’s Midreshet Lindenbaum come together for Megilla reading: students from the various Israeli programs; overseas programs for English and Spanish speakers; and Darkaynu – a unique year-in-Israel experience for young women with special needs.

In what has become a tradition, the tenth and final chapter of Megillat Esther is always read by a Darkaynu student and this year, the honor went to 20-year old Tikva Chasen of Toronto. Tikva, who has Down syndrome, learned the cantillation from an audio file – just like the other Midreshet Lindenbaum students. “What makes Darkaynu so unique is that on the one hand, our students are an essential part of Midreshet Lindenbaum for everything – they live in the same building, go on tiyul together, study in chavruta, sing in the same choir and more. But at the same time, we side-stream our students, providing them with their own academic and life skills curriculum and with specialized guidance,” explains Darkaynu director Elana Goldscheider. “In Megillat Esther we read the directive, ‘Go assemble all the Jews.’ This is our goal on Purim and all year-round, to be inclusive of all Jews and give everyone a chance to be part of klal Yisrael.”

Tikva Chasen reads the megilla's final chapter

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