A milestone at the North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) Middle School will be reached when 17 students, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, will chant Megillat Esther, the Book of Esther, for their schoolmates, faculty and families on Purim, which falls on Sunday, March 12. The Book of Esther commemorates the victory of the Jews of Persia over their oppressors, led by Haman, the evil Prime Minister, who sought to destroy the Jewish people.
Over the past 16 years, 275 students at the academy have been instructed by Dr. Paul Brody, a dermatologist by profession, in this unique program part of NSHA’s curriculum that enables students to read the Megillah at various synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes and private homes for those unable to attend public readings. Dr. Brody, who has read the Megillah for 45 years, once chanted it at the Great Synagogue in Leningrad in 1985, despite great peril, where the gabboyim or sextons were actually members of the KGB.
Middle School Principal Rabbi Adam Acobas and Head of School Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin facilitate the students’ hectic schedules to enable adequate review time with Dr. Brody. The students have attained a distinctive accomplishment, joining a small, qualified group who possess the knowledge to publicly chant the Megillah.