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Purim at Shearith Israel is a meaningful and joyous holiday. The Megillah is read at evening and morning services while the members follow along quietly. Unlike many other congregations, Shearith Israel’s Megillah reading is read carefully—without noisemakers—so that each word of the Megillah can be easily heard by those attending services.


Following evening services and Megillah reading, the congregation sponsors a festive dinner that always includes entertainment for the children. Many of the children come dressed in costume and receive special prizes in honor of the occasion.


On the morning of Purim, it has been customary since 1990 for women to conduct a women’s Megillah reading, by and for women, in the Little Synagogue. Over the years, many women and girls have participated in this reading, and several girls have celebrated their Bat Mitzvah at the Purim women’s Megillah reading.


Each Purim, members participate in preparing and distribution of Mishloah Manot, packages of sweets, which are hand-delivered to elderly and homebound congregants. Moreover, members contribute charity to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, so that he may distribute these funds on Purim on their behalf.


Nineteenth Street Synagogue

The congregation's fourth synagogue was built on nineteenth Street, just west of Fifth Avenue.  

Benjamin N. Cardozo

Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo spoke of the need for the Congregation to maintain its historic traditions and to remain true to the customs and practices of the generations that had come before.