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Purim at University of Pennsylvania


Purim at UPENN included a distribution of over 1000 mishloach manot kits packed by the Sigma Delta Tau and Chi Omega Sororities. The packages were then distributed by freshmen in the Quad(=Freshmen dorms)and on the streets of campus via our Purim-decorated 1969 Ford Galaxy 500 convertible.

The festivities began at Marbar with a Megillah reading at 8pm and
subsequent ones later in the evening attended by the owner and manager of
Marbar and the students. Hundreds of students came out to hear the BAAL SHEM TOV band and DAVE LINDENBAUM perform. Many arrived in costume.

Purim morning, 400 students attended and played game booths at a carnival at Houston Hall (student union) sponsored by 14 campus groups comprised of fraternity and sororities, college republicans
and democrats and the student government booth (of whom the Student
president and treasurer got ‘pie’d in the face. See photos)

The carnival had student performing arts groups as in Bloomers Comedy Group and the Andi Kaplan and the four leaf clovers perform alongside the Baal Shem Tov Band. Alongside the festivities, the giving of charity, sharing gifts of food and hamantaschen, feasting on challah and sushi, there was a cake-eating contest, of which each of the 14 groups nominated one contestant
as competitor. This year the winner was Courtney Jacobs, a senior at Penn and the defending champion from Purim 2003. “If someone would have told me four years ago that I’d be sitting in Lubavitch House learning torah, I would have thought them crazy,” said Courtney in a recent written statement about her involvement with Lubavitch House and the Jewish Heritage Programs at Penn.

Upstairs megillah readings were going on all day. Every hour a megillah reading began. In all about 120 people attended these megillah readings on Purim this year.

After the conclusion of the carnival, students attended shabbat services at
Chabad House followed by a delicious Shabbat dinner prepared by the Shlucha on campus, Mrs. Nechama Haskelevich.

The entire event, says Rabbi Haskelevich, was organized by UPENN students Stephanie Becker, Elana Wilf
Oliver Entine and Ben Newton. “They were fabulous,” says Haskelevich. Also helping were rabbinical students from Morristown, NJ and Chovevi Torah, Zalmie Kass, Samuel Rosentzweig, Yaccov Glassner and Levi Telden.


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