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A Purim message from Miriam

Purim this year is different. 

Our last festival together was Simchat Torah, which, like Purim, is supposed to be celebrated with unbridled joy. The horrific events of that weekend cast their shadow six months on, to today, and will continue to cast a long shadow into the future. 

The events that continue to take place in Israel and Gaza make this shadow darker and darker. Loved ones are caught up in war. Over 100 hostages are in an increasingly desperate situation. The country that we hold dear is at threat. And because Judaism demands that we see each human being created in the image of God, we must also face the reality of a staggering number of Gazans suffering, many now without food. Writing on the Fast of Esther, we must heed the call of our prophets to use fast days to attune our social consciousness and to do whatever we can do to relieve suffering in our world. 

It may feel odd then to be celebrating Purim, with it’s topsy turvy, fairy-tale story in which the goodies come out fine. It feels odd to be planning a party, music, to be dressing up, enjoying a seuda, sending mishloach manot. 

Our people are no strangers to embracing joy in the face of great crisis and grief. And communities around the world are responding in different ways. Many communities, particularly in Israel, are suggesting a “diminished” Purim. Others are suggesting that we party harder than ever - to see joy and celebration of our Jewishness as a kind of resistance. 

I’d like to share an idea from my colleague Rabbanit Dasi Fruchter, who puts it so well:

An important goal to the raucous celebration and silliness of Purim is being able to turn everything over and see a universe where the Divine comes out of hiding, and is truly present. A world where redemption and new narratives are possible, even when those things couldn’t seem to be farther away. May our absurdity and celebration over Purim create some cracks in our reality to see the light of a different world.”

Finally, here are some ideas and links to powerful messages from others at this time:

Download PDF • 488KB

May we know happier times ahead



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