JERUSALEM (JTA) – An organization working to bridge the gap between the religious and secular in Israel will hold Megillah readings in 100 locations throughout the country.
The Tzohar organization’s Together for Purim program will introduce many Israelis to the traditions of the Purim holiday, which begins on Saturday night.
About 200,000 participants will be provided with a special Scroll of Esther including the traditional text and pictures. Explanations of the Purim story also will note the origins of specific holiday practices such as giving charity and sending food baskets, or mishloach manot.
The Tzohar readings will take place in community centers or school gyms rather than synagogues to make it a more open and welcoming environment for all Israelis.
"All Israelis love the fun costumes and the traditional Purim partying," said Nachman Rosenberg, executive vice president of Tzohar. "Our programs aim to enrich the celebrations with meaningful Jewish values and show how Jewish identity can become a source of national unity rather than separation."