A milestone at the North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) Middle School in Great Neck will be reached when 25 seventh and eighth graders, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic, will chant Megillas Esther for their schoolmates, faculty, and families, on Purim Day, March 10 (14 Adar 5780).

This is the 19th consecutive year that all Middle School students are bused in to attend Purim Day festivities, even if Purim falls out on a Sunday.

Over the past 19 years, over 325 students at the Academy have been instructed by Dr. Paul Brody, a dermatologist by profession. This unique program, introduced by Dr. Brody – with the approbation of the then Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yeshayahu Greenfeld, and the Middle School Principal, Rabbi Dr. Michael Reichel – has become part of NSHA’s curriculum, enabling students to read the Megillah at various synagogues, hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes for those unable to attend public readings. The current Head of School, Rabbi Jeffrey Kobrin (back row, fifth from right) and Middle School Principal, Rabbi Adam Acobas, who this year instructed the Sephardic readers (back row, third from right), facilitate the students’ hectic schedules to enable adequate review time with Dr. Brody.

The students have achieved a distinctive accomplishment, joining a small, qualified group who possess the knowledge to publicly chant the Megillah. Dr. Brody’s megillah, from which the boys will read, was presented to him and his wife by the renowned Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman shlita of Migdal HaEmek, Israel (known as the “Disco Rabbi”), of Migdal Ohr Institutions, for their dedication in helping underprivileged Israeli children.

Dr. Brody, who has read the Megillah for the past 47 years, first leined it in 1973 at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, and read it there and at Kehillas Aderes Eliyahu (“Rabbi Teitz’s Shul”) until 1993, when he and his family moved to Great Neck. This year will mark the 25th year that Dr. Brody has leined Megillas Esther at the Great Neck Synagogue. Dr. Brody chanted the Megillah at the Great Synagogue in Leningrad in 1985, while on a mission for Soviet Jewry, despite great peril, where the gabbaim were actually members of the KGB! “Better READ than dead,” he pondered!


NHSA middle schoolers who will read Megillas Esther on Purim Day. Photo Credit: Ryan Ellis

Dr. Brody is the 4th from left, back row, holding a Megillah case; in the other photo (megillah 2.jpg), he is wearing the talis of his Zayde, who convinced him that learning the “Gantze Megillah was not insurmountable,” surrounded by his students.