They say we live in a generation where even “we” is spelled with two i’s as in the “Wii.” But teamwork was certainly a theme this Purim when Chabad of Midtown, Chabad at F.I.T. and Mayanot, one of the largest Birthright Israel providers joined to throw a highly successful and enjoyable Purim party on Saturday night.
Hosted by Chabad of Midtown in its new building on 5th Ave, the party welcomed F.I.T. students, Mayanot Birthright alumni and friends. The event began at 9:30 pm and the last of some 150 revelers didn’t leave until it was almost 3 am and the tired graggers fell silent.
Megillah readings at regular intervals and joyous dancing were matched by l’chaims with an even greater frequency. The students and Birthright alumni enjoyed a lavish spread replete with delicious finger foods, a stunning sushi buffet and of course delectable hamentashen with fillings of every kind.
Jeremy Goldberg, who went on a Mayanot Birthright trip in the summer of 2010, said, “I am so glad I got the chance to reconnect with my awesome bus buddies. The food in Israel was great, but these are my first Hamentashen and they are seriously amazing, I think I’ve eaten half the tray.”
Chabad of Midtown’s resident Chazan, Shloime Raben, led the crowd in a beautiful melodic Havdallah followed by an explanation of Purim and some words of inspiration from Rebbetzin Malka Werde of Chabad at F.I.T. “Watching my students celebrate Purim and interact with the Mayanot alumni was a real bonus. It speaks to the miracle of Purim itself when the Jews came together with unity and ended up rejoicing with pride in our warm, profound and lively traditions.”
Nikki Levitan, who returned from her Birthright Israel trip only a few months ago, was celebrating her first ever Purim. “This was a great chance to see my friends from the trip and celebrate a holiday that’s new to me. I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and exciting the mood was.”
Chabad of Midtown has hosted Mayanot Alumni for a number of events in the past year such as Hebrew classes, food packing drives, Shabbos meals and the like.
“Mayanot does a wonderful job hosting thousands visiting Israel on Birthright trips. Chabad of Midtown is proud to welcome these young Jews and help connect them to living Judaism. ” said Rabbi Josh Metzger, head Shliach of Chabad of Midtown.
Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, director of Mayanot was very pleased with the success of the Purim party. “Mayanot is dedicated to providing Jewish content programs to ensure the continuity of the Birthright journey. What better way than celebrating Purim with fellow Birthright alumni.”
Mayanot runs a full time Jewish studies program for men and women from College campuses. Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Mayanot’s spiritual director sees the alumni work as linking directly to the full time study programs. ” The Rebbe always stressed the importance of a single Mitzvah, which is certainly being achieved through our Birthright alumni program, but we are especially glad to see it translating into young men and women coming to learn here in our year round programs.”
Registration for the Birthright summer season is still open. If you know someone eligible please send them to www.mayanotisrael.com