WHITE PLAINS, NY — Reports of Temple Sharith Israel’s annual Megillah reading event becoming progressively more hostile every year have been rocking the White Plains community, and Rabbi Danya Farstein has fallen victim to the brunt of the hostility.
“At first, it was barely noticeable. The booing at the mention of Haman was maybe a little bit louder, the groggers shaken a smidge more aggressively. But then… I don’t know, it started to get more violent.” Rabbi Farstein told us of the Purim trend.
“Eventually, the booing would start as soon as I got onstage. I thought it might be the congregants anticipating the story, and just really passionate about expressing their distaste for Amalek – but when I got a package in the mail full of rusty nails and a note spelled out in letters cut from a magazine, I started to feel like maybe I was the real Amalek.”
The boos and grogger spinning eventually became chants and hollers that overpowered the actual Megillah story. “It actually seemed to get quieter whenever Haman’s name was said,” shared a slingshot-wielding congregant who chose to remain anonymous. “Then, people started yelling very personal attacks at Rabbi Farstein. Like, really mean stuff about her personal life and her family. Someone brought up her husband’s arrest record, a public urination charge from college. The next year, people were yelling threats. Violent stuff, like shocking – even for a holiday where a man and his ten sons were all hanged in public for attempting genocide.”
When asked about the most recent Purim celebration, Rabbi Farstein said congregants abandoned noisemakers all together and just started throwing rocks at the bimah. The reason for the escalated violence during Purim is unknown, although it is speculated that in the last few years, more and more members have been pregaming the service pretty hard.