(JTA) — A U.S. Army major played a major Purim prank on his family by showing up in an unexpected place: at home, for Purim.
Moses Scheinfeld, who has been deployed in Afghanistan for the past nine months, surprised his family by showing up at their Southern California Jewish day school’s holiday party last week.
His return was announced at the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills by its head of school, Rabbi Boruch Sufrin, as he delivered a dvar torah to students and parents.
Scheinfeld, who is Orthodox, entered the school gym in uniform wearing a black suede kippah. His three children ran to hug him and were joined by their equally surprised mother, Rivka.
Scheinfeld, who serves with the 40th Infantry Division of the California Army National Guard in the south of Afghanistan, brought an American flag that flew at the Army base.
He told the students at the Orthodox school that despite 18-hour days at work, he studied Torah subjects including Psalms and Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of Our Fathers, every day.
“That’s what gave me the energy to continue,” he said.