Roosevelt Islander Online: Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Celebrates Purim Holiday With Worship Service Followed By The Marvelous Mrs. Esther Maisel Purimschpiel Play

dressed in a green plaid kilt and tam o’ shanter in anticipation of St.
Patrick’s Day, led the worship service and the reading of the megillah or
traditional scroll. The holiday marks the survival of the Jewish people at
a time of a threatened massacre. The other readers were Keren Bachi, Uri
Shusterman, Rachel Rekhter, Michal Melamed and Ben Fhala. The reading was
interrupted by children and adults wielding noise-making groggers to blot
out the recitation of the name of the man who purportedly attempted to
destroy the Jews. The congregation joined in singing prayers to the
melodies of familiar Irish songs.

The service alternated with scenes from a Purimschpiel, or play, based
on this narrative. Written by Mickey Rindler and directed by Janet Falk,
The Marvelous Mrs. Esther Maisel transported the characters from the
television show (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) to the Shushkills (formerly
known as the Catskills) where there is a lively comedy club scene. The
cast featured King Adamsuerus (Tamar), Haman (Mickey Rindler), Mordechai
(Charles Schwartz), Queen Vashti (Beth Asher), Esther Maisel (Emily
Kalb) and Aunt Rose (Michal Melamed).  

Other cast members included sisters Lucia and Gabriella, children of our
RIJC community. 

The Purimschpiel’s broad humor and political-themed puns, plus
references to Roosevelt Island affairs, drew laughter, groans and cheers
from the audience, who used their groggers and applauded

The evening concluded with delicious Hamantaschen, a triangular holiday
fruit pastry treat, baked by Tamar, which has become an annual

For more information about the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation,
which is the oldest, active and egalitarian congregation on the Island,
please visit or send an
email to
[email protected].  

The next Shabbat worship services are on Friday, March 25 at 6:30 pm in
the Sanctuary at the Cultural Center, 548 Main Street. Attendees should
RSVP to [email protected] and must be fully vaccinated. Masks are
optional. The services will be broadcast on Zoom; the Zoom link is at on the Coming Up page, listed as Friday Night Programs. 

Our Spring Learning series, led by Rabbi Joel, will focus on various
aspects of Social Justice, will start up the week of Tuesday April 5,
dates, times and Zoom link to be announced.
Shabbat services, holidays and other activities in April, May and June
will be posted and sent out soon. 

More info on the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation
at their web site.


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