A milestone at the North Shore Hebrew Academy Middle School in Great Neck will be reached when twenty-five 7th and 8th graders, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, will chant Megillat Esther, Scroll of Esther, for their schoolmates, faculty, and families, on Purim Day, March 10, 2020, the 14th of Adar 5780.
This is the 19th consecutive year that all Middle School students are bussed in to attend Purim Day festivities, even if Purim falls out on a Sunday.
The Book of Esther is an extensive letter that records the victory of the Jewish People over Haman, a vizier of the Persian Empire, who sought to destroy the Jews but was ultimately hanged.
The story is the focal point of Purim, a Jewish holiday that features recounting the story, giving charity, exchanging food and drink (Mishloach Manot), festivities and donning costumes.
This unique program, introduced by dermatologist Dr. Paul Brody – with the approbation of then Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yeshayahu Greenfeld and Middle School Principal, Rabbi Dr. Michael Reichel – has become part of the academy’s curriculum, enabling students to read the Megillah at various synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes for those unable to attend public readings. Current Head of School, Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin and Middle School Principal, Rabbi Adam Acobas, who this year instructed the Sephardic readers, facilitate the students’ hectic schedules to enable adequate review time with Dr. Brody.
The students have achieved a distinctive accomplishment, joining a small, qualified group who possess the knowledge to publicly chant the Megillah. Dr. Brody’s Megillah, from which the boys will read, was presented to him and his wife by the renowned Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, shlita, of Migdal Ha’Emek, Israel (known as the “Disco Rabbi”), of Migdal Ohr institutions, for their dedication in helping underprivileged Israeli children.
Dr. Brody, who has read the Megillah for the past 47 years, first leined it in 1973 at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hill, and read it there, and at Kehillas Aderes Eliyahu (“Rabbi Teitz’s shul”) until 1993, when he and his family moved to Great Neck.
This year will mark the 25th year that Dr. Brody has leined Megillat Esther at the Great Neck Synagogue. Dr. Brody chanted the Megillah at the Great Synagogue in Leningrad in 1985, while on a mission for Soviet Jewry, despite great peril.