By COLlive reporter
It’s finally near…
The extra month of Adar I is coming to an end and the spirit of Purim is catching on. In schools, children practice Purim songs, stores are showcasing the best of their candy and Mishloach Manos baskets and costumes.
One thing that cannot be left for the eleventh hour is the preparation for reading of Megillas Esther, the 10 chapter narrative telling of the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people in Persia.
COLlive compiled for you a few useful suggestions that will aid you in preparing the reading, keeping it interesting throughout (and the crowd silent) and even a modern way to make some noise when Haman is mentioned.
1. The Megillah Trainer
Ever wanted to learn to read the Megillah but didn’t think you had the time?
Chabad.org’s interactive Prayer Trainers has recently launched The Megillah Trainer, a read and listen tool that highlights each word as it is sung and allows you to learn at your own pace.
It is supported on mobile devices and tablets, so you can learn on the go with two reading styles: The traditional Lubavitcher pronunciation read by cantor Rabbi Levi Kaplan and another by Rabbi Chaim B. Alevsky, creator of Tools for Torah, who reads in a lilting voice using the Modern Hebrew intonation.
Check out both at Chabad.org/MegillahTrainer
2. Megillas Esther App
If you aren’t planning to use an actual parchment scroll, you can simply use your iPhone or iPad to scroll through (no pun intended) verse by verse with the swipe of a finger.
The good people at RustyBrick Inc. are offering this app free, complete with the blessings that are said before and the songs for after.
You device even turns into a virtual grager with 5 noise making sounds (grager, crowd booing, air horn, firecrackers and machine gun) with additional ones for purchase.
To hear these sounds make sure your volume is up and your vibrate setting is off. To hear the Megillah, put it on Airplane Mode.
Get the app on iTunes
3. Animated Purim Story
Once you’re set with the text and the noises, you can deal with the antsy people in the crowd. Whether at home, in your community shul or in a Chabad House, there are a few options to keep the crowd silent.
The first option is the Animated Purim Story Slideshow that tells the Purim tale in ancient Persia with comic strips illustrated by Shevy Levin and written by Rabbi Yossi Zeidman.
In this 25 minute video, “Vayehi Bimei Achashverosh” translates into the speech bubble “a long time ago before the microwave or airplane were invented…”
Animation was done by AfX Animation. Zslides Productions, which offers design services and video editing, is selling this for $99. A DVD is sent to you.
Here’s a promo that can be shared:
Get it at zslides.com
4. Sand Art Moving Image
Another option to keep the crowd entertained during Megillah reading is this sand art moving picture depicting select scenes from the Purim story as it is being read.
It was created by a unnamed artist in Russia for local Shluchim there and since it is silent and without words, other communities have been using it too.
It is being sold by Shmuel Brod of Israel and the price is $35 (down from $45 last year). Upon purchase, you received a link to download the video file to your computer.
For more info, click here
5. Familiar Faces Megillah Video
The most personalized and engaging option is the “Purim Slide Show,” but it will require investing some time into creating it.
A project of Rabbi Meir Geisinsky of Chabad of the Five Towns in New York, characters in this animated video about the Purim story are interchangeable.
You send in passport type pictures of children in your community or school and their faces end up on the bodies and regal garments of Mordechai, Queen Esther, King Achashverosh the others. (“Except of course Haman and Vashti which are unbefitting for a Jewish child to emulate,” Geisinsky points out).
It comes with 64 slides that are easily adjustable and you can also get a matching colorful Bingo game PDF (for you to print) with the same poses seen in the slideshow.
A fully customized PowerPoint Purim Slide Show is $220, or $80 for a partially customized (1st two slides will feature your pictures, including Rabbi photo). Matching Bingo Cards are an extra $50 (and you need to print it.)
More details at www.purimslideshow.blogspot.com
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