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Or Atid Happenings


By Amy Unger

 A Memorable Purim Fiesta at Congregation Or Atid

The moon was full, and the “minions” were out to celebrate the first “in-person” Purim celebration following the pandemic.


It was a Purim Fiesta indeed! Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner led the congregants to a trifecta evening (dinner, reading of the Megillah, followed by dancing).  The room was packed with congregants of all ages (ranging from three months of age to 80) who celebrated Purim in Or Atid’s multi-purpose sanctuary on Monday, March 6.

The entire evening was decorated in style and filled with lots of songs and dance including Jewish folk songs, as well as 60’s and 70’s pop music.

After a delicious fiesta style dinner, Rabbi Grinsteiner read the story of the Book of Esther from the Torah.  Simultaneously, the school children did a superb job in acting out the key parts of the Purim story along with some of the adults.

Of course, every time “Haman” was mentioned, the crowd drowned out his name with lots of noisemakers and booing.

After the retelling of the story, the children paraded around the room in their costumes dressed as Queen Esther, Mordechai, astronauts, a barker in the circus, etc.  The parade culminated in prizes for the most creative costumes.  Even the parents got into the act with their own fashion show and costume contest which gave everyone an opportunity to laugh at themselves.  The evening continued with a lot more dancing accompanied by a DJ.

Like any major event, this fun-filled evening wouldn’t have happened without a planning committee.  With Myra Isaacs and Rabbi at the helm, the team members included Alex Mendez-Zfass, Dana Gwaltney, Dana Weiss, Fay Barss, Rick Wiener, Margo Shayne, Bob Shayne, Leslie Archer, and Ethan Greenberg.  We are also grateful for other helping hands: Sharon Fink, Ron Fink, Lori Barber, Kevin Archer, Ciara Morse, Mike Marcus, and Wanda Schweiger.

Megillah readers included Greg Samuels, Ethan Greenberg, Michael Mollen, Mark Pinsker, and Amy Unger. Delicious Hamantaschen were baked by Leslie Archer, Ellen Bernstein, Margo Shayne, and Fran Todras.

Most importantly, the biggest contributors were the children from the religious school who covered the walls with murals telling the story of Purim under the artistic supervision of Morah Tal Simmons. Additionally, Alex Mendez-Zfass did a fabulous job leading the students through the dramatic retelling of the Purim story (as noted above).

Congregation Or Atid Launches Young Jewish Families Group

Young Jewish Families (YJF) was formed within Congregation Or Atid to provide social events and activities for young families with similar interests.  The group’s objective is to create social interaction opportunities for young Jewish families that are not strictly centered around Jewish Holidays and other religious based events.  Congregation Or Atid understands the importance of connecting with young Jewish families and “meeting them where they are” in building the future of the congregation for generations to come.

The group is looking to attract young Jewish families within COA, as well as, throughout the Greater Richmond area.  Young families would range from recently married couples to families with children up through B’nai Mitzvah age.

Congregation Or Atid will host the program and the events will be led by various members of the group.   We welcome young Jewish families in the community to attend the following upcoming events:

For more information about Young Jewish Families (YJF), contact Alistair Bentley at alistairbntl@gmail.com

Here is one event in May

Dance Party Date Night

When: May 11, 7-9 p.m. – Where: Weinstein JCC

Cost: TBD – Childcare not provided