Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Kobrin, Head of School of the North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) announced at the beginning of the student-led Megillah Reading on Purim Day, that the Great Neck school had purchased a new Megillah (Scroll of Esther) to be named the “Dr. Paul Brody Megillah”. The new scroll will be used every Purim when the students chant the Megillah for the entire Middle School, their parents, grandparents, siblings and faculty members, in a program that Dr. Brody, whose daughters attended the Academy, instituted in 2002.
Dr. Brody, a resident of Great Neck Estates, created the Megillah Readers Program two decades ago – with only 10 students – when he realized that no one knew how to chant Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther). He has instructed 400 Ashkenazic and Sephardic seventh and eighth-grade students in the reading, cantillation and fine nuances of each aspect of reading the Megillah.
The Scroll of Esther is an extensive letter written with a quill on a parchment by a highly-trained scribe that records the victory of the Jewish people, via Queen Esther, over Haman, the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire, who sought to destroy the Jews but was ultimately hanged. The story is the focal point of Purim, a Jewish holiday that features recounting the story, giving charity, exchanging food and drink (“Mishloach Manot”), participating in festivities and donning costumes.
After successfully chanting the “Gantze Megillah,” the 35 student readers unfurled the beautiful new Megillah named for Dr. Brody. Dr. Brody observed all of the Megillah Reading and celebration via FaceTime, since he was at home rehabbing from complex orthopedic surgery.
He “shepped Nachas” (experienced great joy) and was very proud of his students for whom he made recordings, and had begun to teach before his mishap. One of his students, Aidan Mayer, utilized different voices for Queen Esther and King Achashverosh, taught to him by Dr. Brody. He is pictured pointing to the “gallows” that the evil Prime Minister Haman had intended for Mordechai – Queen Esther’s uncle who refused to bow to Haman – and all the Jewish People, that ended up being his own hanging place.
—Submitted by the North Shore Hebrew Academy