A milestone at the North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) Middle School in Great Neck will be reached when 25 seventh and eighth graders, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, will chant Megillat Esther (Scroll of Esther) for their schoolmates, faculty and families on Purim Day, March 10, the 14th of Adar 5780.
The Book of Esther is an extensive letter that records the victory of the Jewish people over Haman, a vizier 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.
Over the past 19 years, more than 325 NSHA students have been instructed by Great Neck Estates resident Dr. Paul Brody, a dermatologist by profession. This unique program, introduced by Brody with the approbation of then Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Yeshayahu Greenfeld and Middle School Principal, Rabbi Dr. Michael Reichel, has become part of NSHA’s curriculum, enabling students to read the Megillah at various synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes and private homes for those unable to attend public readings. Current Head of School, Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin and Middle School Principal Rabbi Adam Acobas, who this year instructed the Sephardic readers, facilitate the students’ hectic schedules to enable adequate review time.
The students have achieved a distinctive accomplishment, joining a small, qualified group who possess the knowledge to publicly chant the Megillah. Brody’s Megillah, from which the boys will read, was presented to him and his wife by the renowned Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, shlita, of Migdal Ha’Emek, Israel (known as the “Disco Rabbi”), of Migdal Ohr institutions, for their dedication in helping underprivileged Israeli children.
Brody, who has read the Megillah for the past 47 years, first leined it in 1973 at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hill, and read it there and at Kehillas Aderes Eliyahu (“Rabbi Teitz’s shul”) until 1993, when he and his family moved to Great Neck. This year will mark the 25th year that Brody has leined Megillat Esther at the Great Neck Synagogue (GNS).
—Submitted by North Shore Hebrew Academy