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March 9 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lines are learned, songs rehearsed, costumes made, and posters posted. Bat Yam Temple of the Islands is ready to celebrate Purim. The much-anticipated musical retelling of the Purim story will be in the sanctuary at Sanibel Congregational Church of Christ.
The celebration is free and open to the public. Following the program, all are invited to enjoy Purim-themed refreshments in Fellowship Hall. Among the treats will be hamantaschen, the traditional jam-filled cookies whose triangular shape resembles the three-corned hat worn by Haman, the villain in the story.
The cast includes Bat Yam members Vickie Fuchs, who will portray Esther; Cantor Murray Simon as Haman; Ben Yokel as Bigthan; Edina Lessack as Mordecai; Sally Sacks as Vashti; and Alan Sacks as Teresh. In what all concerned believe is history-making casting, the Rev. Dr. John H. Danner will once again play the role of King Ahasueras.
Dr. Danner is Senior Pastor of SCUCC, where Bat Yam holds services. The two congregations share many activities and much mutual respect and admiration.
Rabbi Dr. Stephen Lewis Fuchs will portray Hatach the storyteller and will narrate the Purim story of the Bible’s Book of Esther. Tanya Hochschild will introduce the story, which commemorates the time when Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jewish people from execution by Haman, the king’s advisor. When Esther told her husband, the king, of her Jewish heritage and asked him to spare her people, he bowed to her wishes.
Pianist Abbey Allison will accompany the musical numbers that are sung to familiar tunes but with original lyrics written by the cast members, to hilarious effect. The audience boos Haman and shakes noisemakers called groggers. While those will be available, everyone is encouraged to also bring a container full of coins as a noisemaker. The proceeds will then be given to local charities.
Despite all the frivolity and fun, the Purim story confronts vital philosophical questions such as the place and dignity of women in society, the age-old phenomenon of prejudice and the very meaning of life. All of us, like Esther, have moments when our action or inaction can make a vital difference in someone’s life. We can seize these moments or turn away from them.