Purim

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Queen Esther’s Agunah Story

by  Elana Sztokman

You can learn an incredible amount about different people from language.

Topics: Marriage, Purim

What Queen Esther can teach us about intermarriage

by  Jenna Zark

“She was trying as hard as she could not to be beautiful. But she had a brightness on her, made stronger by the fact that she wanted to hide it; thinking if it was seen, somehow, it would make him choose her, and of course it did.” 

Topics: Marriage, Purim

Vashti is not a failure; Esther is not a bad feminist

by  Leah Berkenwald

Abby Wisse Schachter, associate editor at the New York Post, recently published an article in Commentary Magazine that suggests that feminist thinking has changed the meaning of Purim, and that that is a bad thing. I have not read the piece because the article is only available to subscribers, and therefore I cannot evaluate the merit of Schachter’s individual arguments. Still, I reject the idea that a feminist interpretation of the Purim story “lionizes the wrong woman, promotes a false political message of nonviolence and tolerance, and worst of all embraces failure instead of promoting perhaps the greatest of Jewish heroines,” as Schachter argues in her abstract.

Topics: Feminism, Purim

Purim, feminism, and my kids

by Minnesota Mamaleh

What’s not to love about Purim? Another success story for our people: plan to kill us, foiled! Bring on the food!

Topics: Feminism, Purim

Esther: Midrash and Aggadah

Queen Esther, the central character in the Biblical book named after her, is extensively and sympathetically portrayed in the Rabbinic sources. In their commentary on the Book of Esther, the Rabbis expand upon and add details to the Biblical narrative, relating to her lineage and history and to her relations with the other characters: Ahasuerus, Mordecai and Haman.

Esther: Bible

The heroine of the book named for her, Esther is a young Jewish woman living in exile in the Persian Lit. (Greek) "dispersion." The Jewish community, and its areas of residence, outside Erez Israel.diaspora, who through her youth and beauty becomes queen of the Persian Empire, and then by her wits and courage saves the Jewish people from destruction. The message of the Book of Esther, a work of historical fiction written in the diaspora in the late Persian—early Hellenistic period (fourth century b.c.e.), gives encouragement to the exiled Jews that they, although powerless in the Persian Empire, can, by their resourcefulness and talents, not only survive but prosper, as does Esther.

Esther: Apocrypha

The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible Book of Esther is designated Additions to Esther and pre-serves many details of the Hebrew account. Its portrayal of Esther herself, however, is appreciably different, primarily because of Additions C and D (Add Esth 13:8–14:19; 15:1–16). The Additions to Esther consist of six extended passages (107 verses) that have no counterpart in the Hebrew version. They are numbered as chaps 11–16, designated A–F, and added to the Hebrew text at various places. Another important “addition” to Greek Esther is the mention of God’s name over fifty times. This has the effect of making the story explicitly religious, in sharp contrast to the Hebrew text, which does not mention God at all. The Additions, which probably were not composed at the same time by the same person, can be dated to the second or first centuries b.c.e. because of their literary style, theology, and anti-gentile spirit.

Trafficking, Sex Work, ... and Purim?

by  Jordan Namerow

Purim starts in a few hours, and while the holiday is considered by many to be the most joyous in the Jewish calendar, there is a somber side as well.

Topics: Purim

Zeresh: Midrash and Aggadah

The A type of non-halakhic literary activitiy of the Rabbis for interpreting non-legal material according to special principles of interpretation (hermeneutical rules).midrash portrays Zeresh as being even more wicked than her husband Haman (Midrash le-Esther, Ozar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], p. 51).

Italy, Early Modern

Jews have lived on the Italian peninsula uninterruptedly since antiquity. During the middle ages, the center of the Jewish population of Italy shifted from the south to the north. There, during the early-modern period, having been granted charters, local Jews, joined by refugees from Europe, including waves from French, German, and Iberian lands, provided valuable services as moneylenders and merchants. Although this period saw anti-Jewish agitation by churchmen and the establishment of ghettos, new governmental bodies to supervise the Jews, and local inquisitions, the fact that Italy was not unified provided the Jews with opportunities to leave one city-state to bring their services to another that offered greater promise for more tranquility, an incentive for their hosts to ensure their continued presence.

Festivals and Holy Days

This essay describes in general terms central ordinances and customary practices regarding women’s observance of the festivals and holy days of the Jewish calendar as recorded in the Shulhan Arukh and other The legal corpus of Jewish laws and observances as prescribed in the Torah and interpreted by rabbinic authorities, beginning with those of the Mishnah and Talmud.halakhic sources.

Resource Round-up for a Day of Identity Play

by  Jordan Namerow

In the spirit of Purim, the spirit of spring, and the spirit of the real and its opposites, here are some cool resources to celebrate your day of identity play. Purim Sameach!

 

Topics: Purim

Be happy, it's Adar!

by  Judith Rosenbaum

Happy Adar, everyone. Get your costumes ready, give the groggers a preparatory whirl, and pre-heat your hamantashen-baking ovens, because Purim is coming! (Well, actually, not until next month, since this is a Jewish leap year, with two months of Adar).

Topics: Feminism, Purim

Fast of Esther and Marriage Enslavement

by  Jordan Namerow

Today is Ta’anit Esther (the Fast of Esther), a minor Fast day commemorating the three day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim Ta’anit Esther is the only time in the Jewish calendar that wholly commemorates the power of a single woman to exercise courage in changing the course of Jewish history.

From Wonder Woman to Wonderbras

by  Jordan Namerow

Though some Jews reject Halloween because of its Christian origins, others fully participate in what they consider to be a neutral, mainstream celebration. Either way, it’s difficult to escape the flood of candy, jack-o-lanterns, and synthetic spider webs as well as the latest Halloween “fashion.” Anyone who has watched the evolution of women’s Halloween costumes over the last several years may have noticed that Cinderella and the Hershey’s Kiss have long gone out of style in the wake of more risqué get-ups.

Topics: Feminism, Purim
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