Megillah in the Dark

Maybe you didn’t notice, but every year I use this space to plug Purim as one of my two favorite holidays and encourage everyone to find a synagogue to attend for the celebration. I didn’t do it this year.

I struggled. Purim is fun. So much fun, in fact, that we start increasing our joy with the arrival of the month of Adar and add to that joy every day. How much communal joy do we really have this year? Much has been discussed about this conflict of being happy during traumatic times, and I leave these discussions to our rabbis, social workers, and others more qualified to discuss them.

Saturday afternoon, hours before Purim started, snow started falling. The roads got slippery. The power lines came down. And in our synagogue, we read the Megillah by candlelight. Bounce houses were cancelled. Some services were cancelled. Some people were stranded in their homes. Some synagogues had power and graciously invited those without power to join them. We ended up with an unplanned muted joy. Coincidence?

This year’s yoms (Yom HaZikaron—Israel’s Memorial Day (May 13) and Yom Ha’Atzmaut—Israel’s Independence Day (May 14)) are going to feel a little different as well. Our mourning will be more sorrowful and our celebration probably a little muted, but we must celebrate the 76 years of having the State of Israel, after recognizing its great cost on the day before.

This year, Jewish Federation will be partnering with Israel Bonds for the yoms. At Proctor’s GE Theatre on May 13, we’ll hear from an IDF solider for Yom HaZikaron and an Israeli singer for Yom Ha’Atzmaut, with a bridging ceremony in between led by our rabbis. Registration will be open soon. Please save the date.