By Andrew Bosworth
Quarantined for Purim? Not a problem.
This year, The Leffell School organized many Purim activities for the community to do at home, as school was canceled for the day as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To comply with the mitzvah of hearing the chanting of the Megilah, TLS live-streamed a reading by Head of School Dr. Michael Kay and Associate Head of School Rabbi Harry Pell on Tuesday for those who did not hear it on Monday night. This was a huge success, and the video quickly reached its maximum capacity of 100 viewers.
Although this practice is generally not accepted as complying with the mitzvah, there is a Rabbinic teaching that states that in an emergency, different practices may be used to fulfill the mitzvot, as staying safe and healthy is the number one priority.
There has been a long-standing tradition in the high school for students to do various acts of chesed and good deeds for our community, and 10th Grade Dean Sami Mazo and Coordinator of Student Life Josh Ull continued this legacy. The two went around to the four firehouses where sophomores were going to volunteer and brought the firefighters mishloach manot and lunch items.
Pell also felt strongly that there should be some sort of Purim festivities that the community could partake in, even under the difficult circumstances that had been presented. Pell said, “We can’t be open, so what can we do?” On Purim, there were many virtual activities to participate in, from baking hamantaschen to engaging in different discussions about the holiday.
Kay led a discussion with approximately 50 students and parents on the stories of Joseph, comparing it to the stories of Mordechai and Esther. Many other faculty members quickly offered to pitch in for other activities, such as teaching yoga or leading songs, to help make this Purim one to remember. Pell said, “Hopefully it will have been meaningful to the community. It is the best we could do under difficult circumstances.”