An Uplifting Purim in Kharkov, Ukraine

With Ukraine still struggling from war in the east and economic collapse throughout the country, Purim came to Kharkov, bringing smiles to the faces of those in the Jewish community.

Thousands of people filled seats at the Kharkov circus to hear the reading of the Megillah and enjoy a full program in the true Jewish Purim spirit. At the circus entrance as they arrived, hundreds of men and boys put on tefillin, women and girls received Shabbat candles, and everyone got mishloach manot gifts of food.

The FJC’s  ‘Or Avner’ Jewish elementary school — with the children adorned in colorful costumes — put on a Purim shpiel (comedy) to the delight of the audience. There were also acrobats, clowns and singing, with men and boys dancing to Jewish songs.

Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz, chief rabbi of Kharkov, said a prayer for peace in the nation and the world.

Rabbi Levi Raices, together with the boys’ school, livened up the Megillah reading, dressed up as robots from outer space. Cantor Yitzchak Halfon sang lively medleys with his sons.

The Purim spirit continued throughout the entire day with special programs in the kindergarten, the girls’ school and the Yeshiva, a program for the city’s youth and a lively festive meal in the community synagogue.

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