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Rockin’ Purim…for Real!

This year’s Rockin’ Purim was literally on the rocks.  Chabad House held the very well-attended Purim extravaganza at the Rutgers College Avenue Gym Rock Gym!  “Getting this program off the ground was a real feat,” said Purim organizer Ben Bouskila, “but our team of volunteers working with the university’s gym administration made the festival an unparalleled success.”


Immediately after Shabbos, Chabad’s Student Leadership Team organized a mega, multi-faceted Hawaiian-themed Purim sporting event with over 600 students, alumni and professors coming together for a Saturday night live evening of mitzvahs and mishugas (craziness) featuring the reading of the Megillah by Rabbi Yosef Goodman, a Jewish DJ, dancing, hot dairy buffet dinner, a Hawaiian Tikki Bar with Mocktails tended by Daniel Marcus, home baked hamantaschen by Chabad’s challah bakers, a bouncy wrecking ball competition, a fire show, laser tag, and plenty of rock climbing!

The dancing, music and rock climbing lasted for hours, after which many students returned to the Chabad House for a Chassidishe farbrengen which went late into the night.

The short sleep that night did not in any way affect the tons of mitzvah activities for Purim day. Under the leadership of Rabbi Baruch Goodman, Chabad’s Campus Director, and with the assistance of Chabad’s Education Directors Rabbis Daniel Gordon and Shraga Crombie, students visited malls, nursing homes, and hospitals to help Jews there fulfill the mitzvahs of Purim – including the giving of Mishloach Manot (food packages), Matanot L’evyomin (extra tzedokah for needy people), and Megillah readings.

Chabad Alumna and past president Karen (Kestenbaum) Bobatyrev commented, “it’s so exciting coming back to Rutgers together with my husband David to see how Chabad not only continues, but increases in bringing together so many college students closer to their heritage.”

In the later afternoon after Mishloach Manot packages were distributed to students on campus, Chabad House sponsored a big, family-style Purim Seudah (festival meal) for students and community members. The meal featured another reading of the Megillah for those who missed earlier readings, singing, l’chaims, stories, and a funny video of how Purim is celebrated in Israel.  Students were treated to fascinating stories of self-sacrifice by members of the Russian community who attended, who recounted  modern-day miracles in keeping Purim in the former Soviet Union.

According to Rabbi Goodman, “Our Sages say that the Miracle of Purim, which rescinded the Heavenly decree for the Jews from death to life, physically and spiritually, was brought about by the fact that Mordechai, at Esther’s behest, had gathered 22,000 Jewish children, whom he taught the Torah and with whom he prayed for G d's mercy. He imbued them with the spirit of self-sacrifice and confidence.

“Now remember that Mordechai was one of the heads of the Sanhedrin, the greatest Jew of his time. Still and all, he set everything aside in order to strengthen the foundations of education, actually going in person to teach the holy Torah with piety and self sacrifice, to small children.

“The profound message for us is this: No matter what one's station in life is, or how important one's activities seem to be, one must, first and foremost, dedicate at least some part of his or her time and efforts to the most important of all causes — saving and inspiring our young generation through implanting into them devotion to all that’s always been holy to us ever since our ancestors received the Torah at Mount Sinai, devotion to the point of self-sacrifice. Only in this way can we make sure that our young people will remain with us, and, as a matter of course, ensure the existence of our people. And also, herein lies our strength against all Hamans, and our security under G d's protection.”

Special thanks to event coordinators Ben Bouskila ‘11, Danielle Wald ’13, Sharon Tompa ’11, Michael Schaier ’10, and Jessica Loren ’12.

 

 


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