Today is the holiday of Purim.
It is no accident that in 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu referenced Purim when delivering his powerful address to the U.S. Senate in an unsuccessful bid to curb Obama’s legitimization of a nuclear Iran.
Purim is an old ( 5th century B.C.E.) but painfully familiar story: A Jew-hater named Haman hatches a plan to annihilate the Jewish people in the ancient kingdom of Persia.
In a speech that Jews recognize all too well, Haman tells King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” (Esther 3:8.)
If you pay attention to the Jew-hating ravings of Democrat Ilhan Omar, you hear the echoes of Haman.
Producer David O. Selznick lived a large Hollywood life.
Most famously, he produced Gone With the Wind. His memos to directors are legendary for their exhausting length and minutely detailed analysis of scripts and dailies. He was married to Irene Mayer, L.B. Mayer’s brilliant and accomplished daughter. But he blew up that splendid relationship with multiple affairs and finally a sad marriage to the fragile actress Jennifer Jones.
Selznick gobbled amphetamine and was constantly short of money even as he spent vast sums on a luxurious life style.
Families on Hanukkah gather together and celebrate around dreidels, chocolate coins, and presents. Yet the holiday’s most profound meaning is in its core symbol and ritual: the lighting of the menorah. Rabbi Meir Soloveichik takes us through Hanukkah’s two pivotal historical stages, the age of the Temple and the age of Diaspora, teaching us about the triumph of monotheism and Judaism, and the lessons Hanukkah’s miracles hold for anyone who cares about Jewish survival.
As Jews all over the world make last minute preparations for the holiday of Sukkot, which begins this evening, here are a few wonderfully evocative pictures of Jews celebrating this joyous holiday in Israel — and a rare photo of Jews in Samarkand.
You will dwell in booths for seven days; all natives of Israel shall dwell in booths.
On the first day, you will take for yourselves a fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches, twigs of a braided tree and brook willows, and you will rejoice before the L-RD your G-d for seven days.