On February 25, 2021, Congregation Etz Hayim took a virtual trip to Shushan for a “Choose Your Own Megillah” Purim spiel. Rachel Waldstein directed an all-star cast of CEH congregants in a retelling of the Purim story. Cast members included: Irene Bleiweiss (Hatacha/Courtier), Jenn Rosenberg (Vashti), Jonah Rosman (Mordechai), Ben Simon (Narrator) Gary Singer (Sock/Haman), Mike Stein (King Ahasheurus), and Kira Weiman (Esther). The cast was rounded out by the technical team of Gabriel Ascoli and Jacob Singer.
In addition to our talented director and cast, the audience’s participation made our spiel unique. At several points in the story, the audience voted on the next scene, ala the “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. For example, when Esther came to the palace to meet the King, the audience voted for one of these options: 1) Esther hoped to become Queen so she could help rule the kingdom OR 2) Esther was angry at being forced to come to the palace and audition to be Queen. Although the ending of the story was pre-ordained, the story took many twists and turns (including a scene where the characters were attacked by bears!).
Our Purim event also included mask-making with Maddy Naide, Purim learning with Rav Natan, holiday songs with Nick May, and a dance party. Congregants of all ages joined in the fun and shared their personalized masks and dance moves. The only thing missing was sharing a plate of hamantaschen. A big thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the Purim holiday!