Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's My Shtick Purim Celebration With The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation - Name That Person

Janet Falk reports on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) Purim celebration last Saturday. From Ms. Falk;

What's My Shtick?: A Purim Celebration on Roosevelt Island

Purim, a joyous and comedic holiday celebration, filled with fun and parody based on the Biblical story of Esther, was celebrated by the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) with about 70 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages on March 15. After a communal pizza dinner, children formed a parade to display their costumed finery. Every child received a book, donated by Julia Chang, and prizes were awarded to children who correctly answered Purim-themed trivia questions.

Rabbi Leana Moritt led the worship service; it included the reading of the megillah or traditional scroll, which recounts the story of the holiday, marking the survival of the Jewish people at a time of a threatened massacre. Assisted by Gad Levanon and Doron Betel,

Image Of RIJC Purim Celebration From Judy Berdy

her reading was interrupted by children and adults wielding groggers

Image Of RIJC Purim Celebration From Judy Berdy

to blot out the recitation of the name of the man who purportedly attempted to destroy the Jews. With humor and parody, the congregation joined in singing prayers and novelty songs to popular music and show tunes.

Later, a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative, was performed. Written by Mickey Rindler and Janet Falk, What's My Shtick? took the format of the well-known What's My Line? television game show. After Rabbi Moritt read a short biographical sketch of one of the four principals in the Purim narrative, who were panelists seated before the audience, members of the congregation used their groggers to vote for the panelist they thought had been described.

The four panelists would make motions to stand until finally the appropriate one would stand up. After each round, a commercial advertised RIJC-themed products that the audience might purchase, theoretically raising money for the congregation. The cast featured Marilyn Atkins, Judith Berdy, Scot Bobo, Janet Falk, Emily Kalb, Maya Levanon, Anna Levenstein, Mickey Rindler, Richard Wagreich and Rabbi Moritt, plus students of the RIJC Hebrew School.

The Purimschpiel's broad humor, plus references to Roosevelt Island and RIJC affairs, drew laughter and cheers from the audience.

The evening concluded with delicious Hamentaschen, a traditional fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon family.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, please visit or call 212-688-0003.