(March 12, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA) – Rodef Shalom Congregation, Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha, and Dor Hadash are joining together to celebrate Purim this March, offering several learning and social action activities, a Megillah reading, a Purim spiel performance based on the hits of The Beatles and more, all in celebration of the Jewish holiday based on the Book of Esther.

The collaboration between all three congregations presents an opportunity for Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Jewish community members to join together and celebrate the holiday, which is one of the Jewish calendar’s most lighthearted, fun, and joyous occasions.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha and Dor Hadash to provide programming and events that benefit people across congregations, no matter their age,” said Barry Weisband, Murray Klein Executive Director of Rodef Shalom. “Especially at this time, our Purim celebrations exemplify unity and healing throughout the Jewish community as we all come together to laugh, enjoy our carnival, and support social action.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha noted that the upcoming events signify something greater that can benefit the entire community.

“One of the keys towards eliminating the ‘H word’ are opportunities to collaborate on matters of general agreement, for the relationships built during this process lead to further chances to grow together,” Myers said. “We had a number of these experiences in the Tree of Life, and have found a willing partner in Rodef Shalom that grows our commitment as a Jewish presence in the greater community.  We look forward to additional occasions when we can partner in the same building, for there is so much that unites us.”

These sentiments are further echoed by Judith Yanowitz, Ritual Vice President at Dor Hadash. 

“One of the important messages of Purim is the ‘resolution of opposites,’ the notion that by joyful gathering, we can obliterate the evil, a message that is particularly poignant this year,” Yanowitz said. “The beauty of this cross-congregational event is that it provides Jews multiple ways to celebrate this important holiday through prayer, contemplation, social action, and revelry.”

The following events will take place at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, 15213:


Wednesday, March 13

  • Hamantaschen-Making Workshop, 5 p.m., Rodef Shalom Kitchen: Join Dor Hadash in the kitchen and learn how to bake Purim’s “annihilation” cookie: the cookie in the shape of Haman’s hat. Make some to take home and some to share with your friends! A $5 donation is requested to cover cost. BYO rolling pin, if you have one. Please RSVP by emailing

Sunday, March 17

  • Purim Spiel: A Hard Night’s Megillah, 10 a.m., Levy Hall: Join Rodef Shalom and Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha for “A Hard Night’s Megillah,” a Purim spiel inspired by the greatest hits of The Beatles! Rabbi Myers will lead this performance that includes performers from both congregations.

  • Purim Carnival: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Freehof Hall: Join us for the annual Purim Carnival! Come enjoy FREE games, food, prizes and lots of surprises. Costumes are optional but having fun is a must! Don’t miss Brotherhood’s famous hot dog lunch and the Family Center’s bake sale!

Wednesday, March 20

  • Purim Dinner Presented by Tree of Life*Or L'Simcha and Rodef Shalom, 6 p.m., Freehof Hall: Join us for a Purim dinner from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Freehof Hall. Dinner will include pasta dish options with Hamantaschen for dessert. The cost of the dinner is $18 for members, $36 for non-members, $10 for kids 12 years old and under, and free for kids three years old and under. Please note dietary restrictions when you RSVP at

  • Megillah Reading, 7 p.m., Levy Hall: Join Rabbi Myers for a Megillah reading and interactive multimedia presentation.

  • Purim Discussion with Rodef Shalom’s Rabbi Sharyn Henry, 7 p.m., Lippman Library: This engaging discussion with Rabbi Henry will focus on the message of moral courage, so very palpable in the story of Esther, but often so lacking in our celebration of the Purim holiday. Rabbi Henry will incorporate teachings from her recent sojourn to Guatemala with the American Jewish World Service.

  • “How NOT to Celebrate Purim,” 7 p.m., ALC1: Did you ever hear the one about the Rabbi who got too drunk on Purim? Want to know what our Talmud teaches about reading the Megillah in an "irregular" manner? Join Rodef Shalom Program Coordinator Olivia Tucker for an after-dinner conversation with the Sages!

  • Shalach Manot Basket Making and Jewish Learning with Dor Hadash, 7 p.m., Aaron Court: The mitzvah of giving mishloach (or shalach) manot derives from the Book of Esther. It tells the Jewish people to observe the days of Purim "as days of feasting and gladness, and sending portions of food to one another, and gifts to the poor" (9:22). This verse refers to three different mitzvot: eating a Purim meal, the sending of two different, ready-to-eat foods and/or drinks to one friend, and the distribution of two charitable donations (either money or food) to two people in need. During this child-friendly activity and discussion, Dor Hadash will make Shalach Manot baskets for distribution to the local refugee community. Please bring a donation to include in the Shalach Manot packages and bring a donation for the food bank. For more information and to RSVP, email


Rodef Shalom Congregation has been a beacon in the Reform Jewish community for more than 150 years. From the middle of the 19th century onward, our congregation has pushed for the modernization of Jewish thought and practice. We are a congregation made up of individuals and families; we are multi-generational, multi-cultural, interfaith and we’re saving a space for you too. Regardless of backgrounds, ours is a community that is socially engaged, spiritually mindful, and committed to ensuring the vitality of Jewish life across generations.


Stephanie Rex, Director of Communications and Marketing

Rodef Shalom Congregations



(412) 521-6788


5898 Wilkins Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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