Megillah  of Esther
Megillah  of EstherINN

With Israel slowly emerging from the latest Covid-19 lockdown, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization together with the ‘Yachad’ Program for Jewish Identity from the Ohr Torah Stone network are once again coordinating Purim Megilla readings in hundreds of communities across Israel. In its eleventh year, the outdoor program will be paying careful attention to the limitations imposed by Coronavirus restrictions.

Plans are in place for 400 individual megillah readings in over 200 different communities, all made possible by teams of volunteers who perform the readings and distribute mishloach manot packages to the local children. Rabbi Shay Naveh, Director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Yachad Program said that while people should carefully follow the news for any changes, most of the programs will go ahead largely as planned while taking into account social distancing and other requirements. “Our goal is to make these holidays relevant for those who might not typically come to services but want to connect to our national traditions and heritage. Our ancient traditions deserve to be embraced and enjoyed by all,” he said.

The program is open for all ages and is designed for both religious and secular communities, with guided explanations throughout the readings.

Tzohar Chair and Founder Rabbi David Stav said, “Just like last year, we are once again commemorating Purim in the shadow of Covid-19 but we all very much hope that this is the last time where we will have to address these challenges. Real happiness is made possible from within - and our ability to address hardship with understanding is our strength. For those who are unable to attend, you are invited to follow the megilla readings that will be broadcast live online.”

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, President and Rosh HaYeshiva of Ohr Torah Stone said, “This initiative allows thousands of Israelis all over the country to hear the megilla in an accessible and enjoyable setting while protecting their health and the health of others. Particularly in these difficult times, as we face another round of elections and continued social friction, it is all the more important to remember the unifying message of Purim and do our utmost to ensure our common traditions work to bring us together.”