Chabad of Hawaii celebrated it;s 27th Annual Purim with a very real “Purim in the Shtetl” theme.
As a crowd of 150 “ooh-ed” and “ah-ed” over the incredibly realistic atmosphere of the Shtetl, the Purim simcha ratcheted up a few notches.
Wooden props built from scratch by community member Brian Field included a life-sized well, wheelbarrow, wooden carts, market stalls – while a hand-made table and benches served as the setting for a realistic Shtetl home scene.
To add to this ambience, Chabad of Hawaii had a 33 ½ ft. wide x 7 ½ ft. tall Shtetl scene hand-painted by creative and talented regular, Tamara Hansen.
The food buffet (exclaimed over by charmed locals as “the best ever yet!”) included Shtetl favorites – all home-made: stuffed cabbage, chicken soup with knaidlach, chopped liver, gefilte fish, savory tzimmes, kugel etc, with signs in both Yiddish and English.
The crowd was encouraged to fulfill all 4 mitzvos of Purim, as mini-burlap bags with Mishloach Manos were handed out to all.
To round out the fun and feel of actually being in the Shtetl, a petting zoo came to Chabad House! To the delight of both adults and children, the animals included live goats (Ok, only 1 goat!), chicken, rabbits and ducks.
The Daniel Levey Chabad Hebrew School performed a Chassidic Purim story set in the shtetl with great charm, while Rami Gepner, violinist with Hawaii Symphony Orchestra beguiled the crowd with Yiddish and Klezmer favorites.
Cantor Ken Aronowitz captivated the crowd, singing “Fiddler on the Roof” favorites. And Chabad of Hawaii’s dear friend, Fanny Wedro, born and raised in the pre-war Shtetl of Koritz (Ukraine), had the crowd raptly listening to her tell of Purim in the real Shtetl of yesteryear. They also had trouble figuring out who was their Rabbi and Rebbetzin.
All this wouldn’t have been possible without the great effort and assistance of this year’s shluchim Tanny Rappaport, Sholom Ber Okunov, Aryeh Leib Korf and Shaya Lazarus.
May Simchas Purim around the world lead us to the ultimate simcha of Moshiach!