(Click HERE for photos) Purim Hamishulosh arrived in Los Angeles with a resounding Kiddush Hashem and a remarkable display of Achdus and Simcha.
What has become an annual Los Angeles Purim minhag, world renowned Askanim and philanthropists Shlomo Yehuda and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz and families hosted a Purim Chagiga and Kumzitz bringing together the greatest haimish singers of our generation.
Mordichai Ben David, Avrohom Fried, Chazzan Yitzchok Helfgott, Chazan Duvie Blonder, Yeedle, the Yungerleit of Shira Chior, Chazan Yankele Rosenblatt and the Rechnitz brothers brought the entire Los Angeles Kehilla to their feet in dance and simcha.
With Purim this year on a Friday, it was decided to give the Kehilla a feel of Purim in Yerushelayim with the Chagiga taking place on Motzai Shabbos. This years Chagiga and Kumzitz was dedicated to raising funds for the Bais Gavriel Maos Chitim Fund which distributes vital funds for struggling families in the Los Angeles Kehilla. Since the entire event was paid for by the hosts; 100% of all donations was dedicated to the fund.
On Purim day, the preparations for the Motzai Shabbos event began in earnest with First Street being closed to traffic in all directions. The stages, musical equipment and seating sections were set up. A mechitza stretching a block long was setup making it the biggest mechitza ever set up in Los Angeles history.
Men, woman and children began arriving on Motzai Shabbos from all over Southern California. Families from as far south as San Diego came to join in the Simcha. At 9PM the Chagiga was formally kicked off by Shlomo Yehuda & Yisroel Zev Rechnitz. A Tefilla for the Cholim of the Kehilla was recited by the entire crowd. The music by Shira Orchestra launched an event that with no doubt was the greatest display of Kiddush Hashem in Los Angeles history.
With the world capital of media and production a mere stones throw away, the helige niggunim of our past generations illuminated the soul that is Klal Yisroel on the streets of Los Angeles. Chassidish, Litvish, Sephardim, Mizrchai and every other make and model of the beautiful mosaic of the yiddisher neshama came together for Tzeddoka and Chesed. The numerous Bochurim & Tzedaka groups from the east coast that were in Los Angeles for Purim joined in the Simcha.
The need for this display of Achdus and Simcha in Los Angeles was desperately needed after a year that witnessed many tragedies befall our Los Angeles family. The niggunim ranged from lebedike to the most heartwarming. A special Niggun recently composed in Los Angeles brought the entire crowd to their feet. The niggun is composed of the 12th Bracha of the weekday Shemonai Esrah. Its catchy tune and tempo has quickly made this a niggun to be reckoned with on the Haimish music scene.
The Chagiga and Kumzitz winded down early Sunday morning with a Kumzitz that was reminiscent and replete with the songs of Reb Shlomo.
Hatzolah of Los Angeles provided two ambulances and numerous support vehicles and members to ensure the health and safety of the large crowd. Police estimate the crowd at 7,500 to 10,000 but who was counting. Captain David Beudry commented that his officers were astounded that with such a large crowd there were zero incidents. The officers and general community were awed by the display of community solidarity.
(YWN – Los Angeles)