As an African-American Jewish woman, I endeavor to see the hand of God in all things. How else do I and my people, both of them, come to be standing here, still whole, after all that has been done to erase and diminish our existence on this earth?
Turning ghouls into a street party to ward away our nightmares or playing up lethal anti-Semites to downplay our real fears is all in the human spirit. So why do we dress up and have fun on days that represent evil? To confront it or hide from it?
Purim is a great drama. It is also a symbol of what our world can be when we abolish the disunity between us. As then, so now, it has to start from the Jews. "Love your neighbor as yourself" was given to us first.
For Hannah -- and for many young children -- the point of hide and seek is to be found. Over time, however, we start to get lost. We hide from ourselves. We hide from what we know is right. We start to hide from God.
The story as handed down appears in the biblical Book of Esther. The setting was ancient Persia, probably 2400 years ago. The Jewish minority was well assimilated, but viciously hated by some, including a powerful minister of state named Haman.
The holiday of Purim can lead also to hatred and vengeance. When I was young and grew up in a Reform Jewish congregation, we never read the whole book of Esther, so I never got to the back of the book.
In today's world, holiday celebration is usually juxtaposed with whatever else is going on at the time. I couldn't help, but reflect on Purim in the context of technology, and I discovered that the Book of Esther is full of helpful tech tips!
I'm still awaiting word on what actually happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight #370. While there will be those who find the 'miraculous' story of the man who didn't get on that flight because of his Shomer Shabbos travel agent to be inspirational, I remain troubled by its message.
Congress needs to hear from us, to know that as American citizens we support our government's efforts to halt violence against women. It is imperative that we write, email, tweet, call or visit our members of Congress and urge them to sign on.
In the key scene in Megillas Esther, Mordechai zigs when he seemingly should have zagged, asking Esther a question instead of making a statement. What hidden message was he trying to send to her -- and to us?
Though we don't often speak of ourselves this way, we as American Jews live in the diaspora. We live outside the land of Israel. Though we may have risen to great heights outside of the Land of Israel, we are always, in some sense, strangers in a strange land.
The Maryland Commission, understanding the fundamental principles of the progress of civil rights in this country, reversed its position and stood with us, once again, in the Senate. We thank them and are proud to be a part of that tradition.
Growing up Jewish, one of the 15 million in a world of 7 billion people, is growing up feeling like a survivor of so many historical massacres, lucky to be alive and stay alive. Given our history it is not surprising that there would be a slight "paranoiac" tone to real or perceived threats.