Following maariv and megillah reading by Judaic Studies Instructional Team Leader Rabbi Allan Houben, students headed outside to break their fasts on food they brought from home. The delay also allowed students who had attended megillah reading elsewhere time to come to AJA for the second half of the evening.
After finishing eating, students gathered in the auditorium, where Student Council (STUCO) started the main event of Purim Night. The video presentations opened with STUCO’s Inside Out-themed shpiel (entertaining video). Following the premise of the Pixar movie, the five STUCO members acted out the “emotions” of selected teachers. The video also good-naturedly poked fun at senior Co-president Doni Chasen by showing tumble-weeds and a deserted desert scene inside his head.
The freshmen class’s video documented their efforts, lead by Elisha Feit Mann, to put together a Purim shpiel, while the tenth grade followed sophomore Eli Cohen’s quest to find a quiet place at AJA to study. The juniors “modernized” the classic Purim story to center around a TikTok star named Rich Caroline (played by Ella Goldstein) and her sidekick Meredith (Leah Houben). The senior’s winning shpiel remixed “Grogger’s Up,” itself a Purim parody of “Bottoms Up” from ten years ago by Kehillat Ohr Hatorah. Some of the seniors who were in the original reprised their roles with the lyrics modified to reflect AJA student culture.
Between the grade videos, groups of students submitted mock advertisements. The Disc Golf elective touted faculty sponsor Mr. Dave Byron’s magical throwing regiment, and STUCO members Doni and junior Yered Wittenberg (along with the author) instructed students in Makerspace safety. Sophomore Donny Frances won the prize — wings from Fuego Mundo — for his intentionally-disjointed spoof of emotionally-targeted, intense television commercials, which turned out to be an advertisement for Toyota.
STUCO also announced the freshmen class won the hallway decorating contest with their baby shower theme.
Students then relocated outside for spirited Purim dancing and sugary refreshments.