Rachel Pototsky, 31, loves celebrating Purim to the fullest.
Currently, Pototsky volunteers for the community connector program at the Macks Center for Jewish Education. She used to teach at the Learning Ladder at Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation for many years but decided to take a break from it during COVID-19. In the fall, Pototsky plans to return to teaching at the Learning Ladder.
Pototsky and her husband Evan Reisberg live in Pikesville with their two sons.
What do you do for work?
Before COVID-19, I was a preschool teacher at Learning Ladder at Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom. When COVID-19 happened, I decided to stay home, and I ended up having a COVID-19 baby.
How would you describe your relationship with Judaism?
Working in a Jewish preschool for many years has lit a flame inside of me for my love of Judaism. It reminds me of how important it is for my children to grow up knowing they are Jewish and being proud that they are Jewish. Whether the holiday is big or small, I want my children to celebrate and enjoy them all.
What do you do these days?
I am involved in the community connector program through the Center for Jewish Education. We put on community events to get Jewish families connected to one another. These people live in the same neighborhoods but wouldn’t have any reason to connect besides these events. It is really fulfilling.
How did you hear about this opportunity?
I saw a posting in one of the Jewish neighborhood Facebook groups asking if someone would be interested in doing this. It sounded perfect for me. I have a lot of connections in the Jewish community from being a Jewish preschool teacher, so I know families with young children. Now that I have the opportunity to stay home, this seemed like the perfect time.
Is Purim a big time for you?
Purim and Chanukah are the big ones. We are doing an in-person Purim Shabbat celebration at Meadowood Park. Right now, I am runningaround getting all of the supplies. We are making graggers and ordering hamantaschen. We are getting everything ready for our first in-person event since December.
What do you love about Purim?
Purim is my favorite holiday. It is a fun time. I love celebrating the bravery of Esther, eating hamantaschen and dressing up. This year, in our family, we are dressing up as community helpers. My son is really into his firefighter outfit, so we wanted to all be connected to that costume.
What is the most important aspect of Purim?
Esther’s bravery. I think it is so important to remember how brave she was, especially during the times we are living in right now. Esther really stood up for her people when they were about to be killed and needed her.
How can we emulate Esther’s bravery today?
I think that we, as Jewish people, need to remember our roots and stand up with one another. With all of the antisemitism in the world today, we need to stand up for each other and not be afraid of consequences. We have each other’s backs.
What is your favorite hamantaschen flavor?
Chocolate. Chocolate is the only right answer.