By By Rabbi David Wirtschafter, 3/25/2016
For the Jews of Brussels, this year’s Purim is different from others.
Perhaps for the first time since the end of the World War II, Belgium’s rabbis have asked the community to tamper the festivities to a bare minimum in the wake of this week’s devastating terror attacks. While the government has not applied any pressure to do so, Jewish leaders have asked that there be no wearing of masks in public so as to prevent anxiety or confusion amongst the gentile citizenry. They are wise to do so.
Sadly, this is not an unprecedented request.
There have been times, both in Israel and in the... Read More
By Dr. Madelyn Mishkin Katz, 3/24/2016
I must be honest. Purim is not my favorite holiday. Truth is, I was never a big costume person. Probably a therapist’s delight!
Nonetheless, I was a “good” mom and put aside my own mishagas (craziness) and helped my daughters with Purim costumes and parades so that we made it through enough years dressing up as characters from the story. However, it wasn't too long before they both expressed a similar “love” for costumes and parades and so Purim became a minor holiday in our house.
However – and it is a big “however” – even without the costumes and parades, my daughters shared, as they... Read More
By Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs, 3/22/2016
The faces in the photo that hangs in the new synagogue in Bad Segeberg haunt me. They seared themselves into my brain the first time I saw it, and they do not let go.
What were these 26 souls thinking when – in hiding – they celebrated Purim in 1936? Their eyes and their smiles betray fear, and their resolve to celebrate the festival with joy.
There are those who demean Purim and the basis for the festival, the Book of Esther. They say:
“It is the only book in the Tanach that does not mention God!”
“The story reads like a cartoon melodrama. It is obviously a work of fiction.”
“... Read More
By Rabbi Dara Frimmer, 3/21/2016
Purim is coming, a wild holiday that holds its place alongside Yom Kippur and Passover as a dramatic story in the Hebrew Bible’s accounts of redemption and revelation. But, unlike these other stories, Megillat Esther does not mention God. How can this be?
According to the ancient rabbis, God is hidden.
God is only referred to once, and it’s a vague reference: If Esther refuses to act then “help” will come from another place. (... Read More
By Rabbi Sara Y. Sapadin, 3/15/2016
Celebrating Purim as a family is one of the whimsical joys of Jewish living and parenting. It’s probably the only time during the year when you and your children can walk into services and scream – on purpose – and no one will care. In fact, we’re invited to make noise and make our voices heard. Imagine that! It’s just that kind of atmosphere – raucous, loud, chaotic bliss.
Purim is messiness personified. It’s like coloring out of the lines and painting on the walls. It’s like making spaghetti sauce art and starting a water fight, all wrapped up in one topsy-turvy day. We dress up, get... Read More