Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates Purim Holiday With Worship Service Followed By Shusan Abbey Purimschpiel Play

Janet Falk reports on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) Purim celebration last Wednesday. According to Ms. Falk;

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Presented Shushan Abbey for Purim

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) on Wednesday night, February 28 with more than 50 people participating in a full evening of activities for all ages.

Rabbi Leana Moritt, dressed as Vashti #MeToo, 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.

Gad Levanon and Rabbi Leana Moritt read the story of Purim from the megillah scroll of the Book of Esther. (Photo Judy Berdy)

Assisted by Gad Levanon and Rachel Rekhter, her reading was interrupted by children and adults wielding groggers 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 songs to popular music and show tunes.

Later, a Purimschpiel, or play based on this narrative, was performed. Written by Mickey Rindler and directed by Janet Falk,

Mickey Rindler, Playwright, and Janet Falk (Director) welcome the audience & play Theme from Downnton Abbey. (Photo Scott Pirro)

Shushan Abbey drew inspiration from the television series Downton Abbey. It also wove aspects of contemporary New York life into the familiar tale and featured Lord Crawley-suerus (Tsoni Peled),

Emily Kalb (Lady Esther) welcomes Tsoni Peled (Lord Crawley-suerus) back to Shushan Abbey (Photo Scott Piro)

Thomas Barrow Haman (Mickey Rindler),

Mickey Rindler (Haman) speaks to staff of Shushan Abbey, played by children and Ellen Polivy. (Photo Scott Piro)

Mordechai (Scott Piro), Lady Vashti (Rabbi Moritt) and Esther (Emily Kalb).

Scott Piro (Mordechai) tells his cousin Emily Kalb (Esther) to apply for the job of maid at Shushan Abbey. (Photo Janet Falk)

Other cast members included Ellen Polivy and Michal Melamed, plus children of the RIJC Religious School and Island community.

The Purimschpiel's broad humor and political-themed puns, plus references to Roosevelt Island affairs, drew laughter, groans and cheers from the audience, who applauded enthusiastically.

The evening concluded with refreshments and delicious Hamantaschen , a triangular holiday fruit pastry treat, baked by the Levanon-Seligson family, which has become an annual tradition.

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, which is the oldest, active egalitarian congregation on the Island, please visit www.rijc.org or call 212-688-0003. The next Shabbat worship service is Friday, March 16 at the Cultural Center, 548 Main Street.
Scott Piro adds a Roosevelt Island Purim Tweet: