By COLlive reporter
Photos by Levi Nazarov
A very, very happy Purim in Moscow…
Chabad in Russia’s capital threw a lavish Purim celebration on Wednesday night, perhaps to compensate for the years of deprivation during the Communist regime which barred religious practice.
As the fast of Esther was nearing completion, thousands filled the main sanctuary of the Marina Roscha Synagogue and Jewish Community Center for what would turn out to be a night of joy and celebration.
Attendees first participated in the traditional giving of the Machtzis Hashekel, a reminder of the times of the Beis Hamikdash when the Jewish people would contribute to the daily sacrifices.
Scrolls and noisemakers were on hand for the Megillah reading, as young and old were dressed in costume and ready to stamp out Haman’s name with every means possible, including a confetti cannon.
To increase in the joy, a new Torah scroll was completed in honor of Lev Leviev, the billionaire philanthropist who heads the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Former Soviet Union.
Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar led the crowd in song and dance, accompanied by musician Moishy Rosenberg of The Best band. The timing and the uniqueness of welcoming a new Torah only added to the uplifted mood which continued with saying L’chaim at a festive community meal.