On Sunday, March 12, over 200 people came together at Kol Yisrael in Newburgh for a county-wide Purim celebration. There was something for everyone! A prayer service was held first. Then an interactive workshop run by Building Blocks Workshop, making a mock village of Shushan, where the story of Purim took place. Families from congregations in Orange County worked together to create this settlement. There was hamantaschen (a triangular pastry with fruit filling) for all and then the reading of the Megillah (the story of Purim), both in English and Hebrew. For a grand finale, Allan’s Falafel, from Chester, brought a food truck, selling falafel and other goodies for all to enjoy.
At the same time, dozens of younger children, who participate in the PJ Library program, were entertained at a Purim puppet show, sponsored by the Copans Childrens Library at Kol Yisrael. The PJ Library and PJ Our Way, are funded by Jewish Federation and the Grinspoon Foundation. PJ Library sends free Jewish themed books and music to any child in the Orange County community who is being raised Jewish, ages 6 months to 8 years of age. When they age out, they can enroll in PJ Our Way, which is for children aged 9 to 11.
The idea for the first ever county-wide Purim celebration came from the Religious School committee of Temple Beth Jacob, who then received a generous grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County. The atmosphere in the building was electric, everyone enjoying different aspects of this fun holiday.
We thank Gail Conklin for these pictures. Click on a thumbnail for a larger view.