National Megilla-reading initiative

A joint initiative of Tzohar and Ohr Torah Stone will bring Megilla readings and Purim activities to over 400 locations throughout Israel.

Uzi Baruch ,

Rabbi David Stav
Rabbi David Stav
Yoni Kempinski

A joint initiative of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization and Ohr Torah Stone's "Yachad" Program will bring Megilla readings and Purim activities to over 400 locations throughout Israel this year.

"Megilla BaKehilla" – meaning "Megilla in the Community" – will be taking place in diverse locations including Community Centers, local entertainment venues and even fire stations, with the overarching goal of making the traditions of Purim accessible to Jews of all backgrounds, affiliations and ages and encouraging Israelis to celebrate the festival together.

As noted, Megilla BaKehilla readings take place primarily in community centers or school gyms rather than synagogues, in order to make the atmosphere a more open and welcoming environment for everyone. The decision to reach out to the fire stations came in recognition of the particularly challenging few months firefighters experienced around the country this year. Plans are in place for readings in stations in many cities including Ashdod, Bnei Brak, Tiberias and others.

“Purim is a holiday that inspires the participation of Israeli Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance,” said Rabbi David Stav, Chairman of Tzohar and Co-Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone. “We welcome the chance to use this holiday as an avenue to get all Israelis involved in their religion and feel more attached to their nation and traditions.”

Ohr Torah Stone founder and Chancellor Rabbi Shlomo Riskin said, "We learn from the mobility of the mishkan - the portable Tabernacle in the desert - that Judaism does not wait for Jews to come to it, but rather goes out to the Jewish people wherever they are. This program enables everyone access to the traditions and teachings of Purim in a way that promotes unity and understanding within our greater society.”

"Purim is often the most exciting holiday of the year for our kids, but as a family that doesn’t attend synagogue regularly, we don’t always feel comfortable going there,” said a past participant. “Coming to the community center wasn’t at all intimidating for us and we all really enjoyed the experience and explanations. It brought the holiday new meaning for all of us.”

Tzohar has been coordinating holiday programming for over 10 years, making Jewish holiday traditions accessible to all Jews in Israel and infusing the holidays with meaningful, Jewish content in an embracing and non-coercive atmosphere. Events for Yom Kippur, Purim and Shavuot are hosted in kibbutzim, moshavim and cultural centers across Israel, staffed by hundreds of volunteers.