A milestone at the North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) Middle School was reached on Purim this year on Thursday, March 24, when 19 students, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, chanted Megillat Esther (The Scroll of Esther) for their schoolmates, faculty and families in a special assembly.
During the past 15 years, more than 250 students in the unique curriculum at the academy have been instructed by Dr. Paul Brody, a Great Neck Estates resident and dermatologist. Brody has read the Megillah for more than 40 years, and once chanted it at the Great Synagogue in Leningrad in 1985, despite great peril, where the gabboyim (Sextons) were actually members of the KGB. As part of this NSHA program, Brody teaches and enables students to read the Megillah at various synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes and private homes for those unable to attend public readings.
To make this possible, middle school Principal Rabbi Adam Acobas and Head of School Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin facilitate the students’ hectic schedules to enable adequate review time with Brody. The students have attained a distinctive accomplishment, joining a small qualified group who possesses the knowledge to publicly chant the Megillah.
After completing the chanting of the Gantze Megillah—also known as the Book of Esther—which commemorates the victory of the Jews of Persia over their oppressors led by Haman, the evil prime minister, the NSHA students were given well-deserved certificates attesting to their individual accomplishments.