Purim

Children at last year's Purim parade at Martin Pear JCC. This year its Purim parade was a drive-through event with clowns, stilt walkers, aerialists and BMX bike stunts.

On Feb. 21, Gesher Disability Resources held a Purim shpiel table read of “Queen Esther and the Shushan Schemer.” The event was Gesher’s first national collaboration and was watched live by 150 people. Gesher partnered with the Pink Umbrella Theater Company of Wisconsin and Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee.

The Silverstein Family Foundation Fund sponsored the event. Mishloach manot bags were delivered to Gesher members in Greater Phoenix, and the East Valley Jewish Community Center sponsored the deliveries.

Gesher plans to repeat the event next year, but in the meantime people can still view this year's celebration here.

Daniel Stein Kokin, a member of Beth El Congregation and a visiting researcher at Arizona State University, developed a Purim performance highlighting the talents of Beth El congregants and members of the Greater Phoenix Jewish community.

Kokin is a scholar of Jewish studies and the Renaissance. The show is called “Inversions and Subversions: Leone de’ Sommi’s Purim Comedy of Betrothal,” and is devoted to the oldest-known Hebrew-language play, which was

written in 16th-century Italy as Purim entertainment.

The show also features Beth El Cantor Jonathan Angress and Phoenix-based soprano Nina Cole Garguilo.

"At once lighthearted and scholarly, this program focuses especially on the drama’s proto-feminism, Near Eastern setting and use of biblical and rabbinic texts," Kokin said, via email.

The show is available to watch here.