Last weekend we celebrated the most joyous holiday of Purim. I am excited to share with you that, between Purim shuttle, Purim parties and Megillah readings, thousands of New Orleans Jews were touched by Chabad’s Purim activities and celebrations. Here is a brief recap of how that came about.
Eighty five participants and several dozen volunteers enabled us to pack and deliver over 270 Purim Shuttle packages to home in the New Orleans area. Malkie and I would like to thank the following volunteers who assisted with this amazing project (forgive me if I leave someone out). Bina Lefkowitz, Beverly Serebro, Jill Halpern, Eti Buskela, Lauren Sturm & Jacob, Jennifer Feld, Sara Rivkin, Anna Gil, Alan Smason, Adam Stross, Alan Krilov, Judy Newman, Lou Furman, Jonathan Kaufman, Morris & Yitzi Lew, Toni Weiss, Alex Cazabat, Orit Naghi, Shane & Esther Schreiber, Mazal Avitan, Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin, Rabbi Yossi Chesney, Shloime Greenwald, Gershon Schreiber and Peter Seltzer. Photos below.
On Purim Eve (Saturday night) Purim parties were held at Uptown, Metairie, Tulane, Biloxi and Baton Rouge. At Chabad Uptown over 120 attended, including an appearance by Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi and his wife Shani. Following an interactive Megillah reading and Havdallah, a great Purim party featuring Uzzi Varshaver on the Piano, joined for time by Lauren Sturm and later by Daniel Gale on the violin. The music went for hours and a good time was had by all. Photos below.
The following day, Megillah readings took place at Chabad Uptown, Metairie, Tulane, Bilox and Baton Rouge as well as Lambeth House, David Antiques in the French Quarter and Moishe House, capped off by a final call reading at the Grand Purim Feast at Torah Academy.
This year’s Purim feast theme was Purim in the Big Apple. Torah Academy’s multi-purpose room was transformed into scenes of the New York street. A subway station, street vendors offering hot-dogs and pretzels, a NY deli and fish market, the Manhattan skyline and 770 Eastern Parkway completed the look. A Big Apple menu and awesome music by Panorama Jazz Band rounded out the evening. A host of creative New York themed costumes abounded, including a few NYPD cops who were arresting people for public intoxication. Photographer Gil Rubman captured the event on camera and his photos will be available next week, G-d willing. A big shout out to all of the volunteers and committee members for their hard work and efforts in pulling off a quality event. These outstanding themes and Purim parties are making it harder to top from year to year!
Purim is now in the rear-view mirror which means that Pesach is around the corner… for all of your Pesach needs remember that www.chabadneworleans.com/Passover is the place to go. We will have the Chametz sale form up next week, G-d willing. For your community Seder check in with Chabad Metairie – www.jewishlouisiana.com. Our monthly Lunch N Learn will take place on Tuesday, March 28 and will have a Pesach related topic – the Four Sons of the Seder.
Today was the funeral of Saul Barber. I met Saul in the summer of 1998 when I started serving as Rabbi of Anshe Sfard. He was the long-time Gabbai of the Shul. He was a soft-spoken person who did not like the controversy often associated with Shul politics. But he was staunchly principled when it came to Synagogue customs and practices. He inherited a prayer book from his predecessor, Henry Katz, in which all of the Shul customs were marked. When High Holidays came, he was like a general, directing the order of the service and ensuring that it was done the correct way. He proudly shared with me his memories of growing up in the old neighborhood near the Shul and how his mother wore a Sheitel. His presence will be missed and may his memory be for a blessing.
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin