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Purim & Mishloach Manot

 

Preparing for Purim

Dear friends,

Last Purim, March 11th, 2020, was the last time that most of us set foot inside of Beth Jacob. By Friday afternoon, March 13th, we announced the cancelling of Shabbat services – at the time it was unimaginable that we would not have returned to our precious Beit Knesset almost an entire year later. In the last 11 ½ months we have experienced challenges but have also learned so much about the strength that carries us and our community.

The words of the Megillah state that in the face of existential challenges, “Layehudim Hayta Orah,” – our ancestors found light and joy. We are experiencing a similar light with the hope that comes from the emergence of miraculous vaccines that in time will help us return to “normal” as a community. And for now, we prepare for Purim 5781 with gratitude to Hashem that our community has by-and-large remained physically healthy and spiritually strong.

This Purim will of course be very different. Below, you will find halachic information as well as a preliminary plan for what to expect this year. “When Adar enters, our joy increases” - whether we see each other at a distance or on a Zoom screen, I look forward to increasing our joy in the month of Adar together.

Chodesh Tov!
Rabbi Gershon Albert

Purim Schedule

Shabbat, February 20th


Parshat Zachor (special reading)

 9:00-10:30 AM: Shabbat morning services celebrating Eytan Atias's Bar Mitzvah @the Rosses

Register here (Please note: this sign-up is under our Shabbat sign-up rather than our Purim sign-up.)

11:00-11:10 AM: Second reading of Parshat Zachor @the Rosses 

Register here

Children are welcome

11:10-11:40 AM: Tot Shabbat & Children's Davening (1st-5th grade) @the Rosses

Register here

5:20-5:30 PM: Third reading of Parshat Zachor @the Rosses 

Register here

Children are welcome

 

Sunday, February 21st


Pre-Purim Seudah Box & Mishloach Manot Pop-Up Event @BJC

10:30 AM-12:30 PM

Register here for a drive-by or walk-by time to attend.

Pickup Gan Mah Tov Mishloach Manot and free Seudah Box from Frena.

Come in costume for a parade and photo op.

Bring food donations for Operation Dignity.

Bring handmade cards and kind notes to distribute to elderly and isolated members of the BJC community.

Pre-orders from Frena can be made here and picked up at the event.

 

Thursday, February 25th


Ta'anit Esther & Purim Night

Fast begins at 5:27 AM and ends at 6:39 PM.

5:00-5:30 PM: Mincha for the Fast of Esther

Register here

6:30-7:30 PM: Maariv with Early Megillah Reading @the Rosses

Register here

Zoom link: This service is being streamed for those who cannot attend in person. There is a major halachic debate as to whether a virtual reading fulfills the Mitzvah, with the majority of Poskim ruling that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah through a virtual reading, though there is a lenient opinion that a virtual reading (such as Zoom) does fulfill the obligation. Individuals who do not attend outdoor socially-distant gatherings due to their personal health status can rely on this lenient opinion when it comes to Megillah reading. Everyone else should make every effort to attend a Megillah reading in person. In order to support the precious members of our community who are not able to attend services in person, we will have a Zoom option available for both the night and the daytime readings.
 

Children who can sit quietly with their parents are welcome and are invited to come in costume.

8:00-8:45 PM Second Megillah Reading @the Rosses

Register here

Children who can sit quietly with their parents are welcome and are invited to come in costume.

 

Friday, February 26th - Purim Day


  • 7:00 AM-8:15 AM: Shacharit and Early Megillah Reading @the Rosses
    • Register here
    • Zoom link
    • 8:00 AM: All donations for Matanot Le'evyonim must be contributed via the BJC website by this time. (Checks will be accepted through Purim Night.)
  • 10:00 AM-11:30 AM: Family-friendly Megillah Reading & Purim Party-in-Place @OHDS Upper Playground
    • Register here
    • 10:00  Doors open for Costume Contest, Human Bingo Game and more! 
    • 10:30  Megillah Reading (Promptly) 
    • 11:10  Dance-in-Place Party
    • 11:30  Take some treats to go! 
    • This is a BJC event that is being held on the OHDS Upper Playground, 5500 Redwood Rd. We will not have access to the building (or its bathrooms) so please plan accordingly; a portable bathroom will be available. Make sure to come in costume! 
    • This event is sponsored by Leslie and Raphael Edelman in memory of his mother's 18th yahrzeit.
       
  • 3:00 PM-4:00 PM: Drive-by Mishloach Manot @the Alberts' home
    • No registration needed. Masks, social distancing and hand sanitizing are required.

Halachic Notes for a Unique Purim

Parshat Zachor

There is a Biblical commandment to remember the attack of Amalek against our ancestors in the desert, which is fulfilled by reading Parshat Zachor from a Torah scroll on the Shabbat preceding Purim (Saturday, February 20th). God willing, we will have our regular Shabbat morning services include Parshat Zachor, and have scheduled an additional reading for the end of services (at 11:00 AM), and another one in the late afternoon before Mincha so that as many members as possible can fulfill the mitzvah by hearing the reading.
 
Those who are unable to attend outdoor services should read the Parsha to themselves from a Chumash (or if you have access to a Sefer Torah, that is even better) on Shabbat day out loud: Devarim / Deuteronomy Chapter 25, Verses 17-19.


The Four Purim Mitzvot


1) Megillah

The commandment to read the book of Esther needs to be fulfilled by either reading from a Megillah (kosher scroll), or hearing it being read live by someone else from a Megillah. There is a major halachic debate as to whether a virtual reading fulfills the Mitzvah, with the majority of Poskim ruling that one does not fulfill the Mitzvah through a virtual reading, though there is a lenient opinion that a virtual reading (such as Zoom) does fulfill the obligation.

Individuals who do not attend outdoor socially-distant gatherings due to their personal health status can rely on this lenient opinion when it comes to Megillah reading. Everyone else should make every effort to attend a Megillah reading in person. In order to support the precious members of our community who are not able to attend services in person, we will have a Zoom option available for both the night and the daytime readings.

Given that we will have multiple Megillah readings on Purim night, if someone attends the later Megillah reading that is not immediately after nightfall, it is permitted to break the Fast of Esther before hearing Megillah with liquids and a snack, but not a full meal.

 

2) Mishloach Manot

For those who are being cautious, the basic Mitzvah can be fulfilled by giving two portions of food or drink to one other person on Purim day by dropping it off on their doorstep. One does not need to hand it to the recipient in person, though the gift should include the giver’s name so as to create a sense of love and comradery.

Giving numerous gifts to friends and community members is a wonderful way to build community during this difficult time. Please remember to practice social-distancing and mask-wearing when delivering packages on Purim day.

This year has uncovered the economic difficulties in our Jewish community and beyond. Please consider donating to Tzedaka an amount equal to  the funds you spend to make beautiful gifts for friends as a way to support others beyond our immediate circle who are in need.

 

3) Matanot Le’evyonim

One fulfills the Mitzvah of “Gifts to the Poor” by providing the monetary value of two meals to two individuals. Those who would like to provide these gifts through the shul can make a donation to the Beth Jacob Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, preferably through the website no later than 8:00 AM on Purim day (though checks on Purim night will also be accepted). Please add the word “Purim” to the note so that we can allocate your donation correctly. The monies will be distributed while it is still Purim to individuals in need and organizations that support them.

 

4) Mesiba (a festive meal) 

It goes without saying that the obligation to have a celebratory meal on Purim day should only be fulfilled in keeping with the social-distancing requirements as outlined by state and local authorities. While of course, large gatherings are how we normally create the joy of Purim, there is no Purim Mitzvah that is worth placing anyone’s health at risk. Please ensure that your own observance of this Mitzvah avoids even the possibility of Chilul Hashem (desecrating God’s name) by following the guidelines carefully.

A unique situation this year is that Purim leads directly into Shabbat, which one is supposed to enter with hunger for Shabbat dinner. Therefore, it is halachically recommended that we finish our Purim meal by the early afternoon (2:30 PM approximately) in order to still be hungry for Shabbat dinner that evening.

Machatzit HaShekel (the half-Shekel)
There is a custom to offer the value of three half-dollars in advance of Megillah reading on Purim night. Technically, this can be done by making a donation to Tzedaka worth $1.50 and saying “Zecher LeMachatzit HaShekel” (in memory of the half-Shekel). For those who would like to perform the Minhag traditionally, silver-half dollars will be available on Purim night at our outdoor services; using hand sanitizer and wearing gloves will be required before handling the coins. 

 

PURIM  IS  COMING!

Despite the pandemic, Gan Mah Tov will continue with its annual tradition of bringing joy and celebration to our community through our ONLY fundraiser of the year, the creation and distribution of Mishloach Manot gift bags!

The Gan Mah Tov Parent Committee creates wonderful Mishloach Manot, and your purchase of these baskets helps to support our preschool and to build our community.

This year has brought unprecedented hardship to our school community. The funds that we raise for Mishloach Manot go directly to scholarships, allowing BJC families the ability to access Gan Mah Tov’s excellent Jewish preschool education. We have a very high need for scholarships for next year, and we are looking for your help to provide these children with the Jewish education they deserve.

Last year, we raised $22,000 but our need was almost twice as much. This year, we are
hoping to exceed this amount so that we can continue to support our families in need.

Every Beth Jacob and Gan Mah Tov family, teacher and staff member will receive a Mishloach Manot gift basket. In each bag will be a letter thanking those families who participated in this year’s fundraiser.

HOW IT WORKS 

Go Green! Order Online!  Select one of the donation levels at the bottom of this page and click Submit! 

Orders are due by Monday, February 15th, 2021

Mishloach Manot bags will be available for “drive by” pick up at Beth Jacob Congregation (Park Blvd side) February 21 from 10:30am-12:30pm

Don’t forget: contributions to Gan Mah Tov are tax-deductible (tax ID 94-1156833).

We hope that you will continue to support our community and preschool in this meaningful way.

If you have any questions, please contact Yael (yaelfriedkin@gmail.com) or Nili (niliblock@gmail.com).

Todah Rabah, 
Yael Friedkin & Nili Shorser
GMT Parent Committee Co-Chairs


 



 
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Thu, March 4 2021 20 Adar 5781