Blogs

On View: The Story of Esther’s Children

The story of Esther, who courageously foiled a plot to exterminate the Jews of ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), is the keystone of the Purim tradition and Iranian Jews have always strongly identified with that singular Jewish heroine.  Even today, Iran’s remaining 25,000 Jews go to pray at the tomb of Esther and Mordechai ‒ yes, there is such a place ‒ and the Jewish queen is remembered on a daily basis through amulets seeking her protection and beautifully illustrated renderings of the megillah (scroll) telling her story.  No surprise that modern Iranian Jews are occasionally referred to as Esther’s children. 

Painted Doors; Iran, 19th century; wood, pigment. Collection of Miriam Kove, New York. Photo courtesy Beit Hatfutsot – The M

ReelAbilities Film Fest: Watch Trailer, Tix Available

The JCC in Manhattan presents the 6th Annual Reelabilites Film Festival, the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. 

 

 

The festival runs MARCH 6 - 11 in more than 30 locations through the city.

Oooops, There Goes Another Terrorist Or 22

The Sunni terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has found a way to create martyrs to its extremist cause that like-minded organizations should hasten to emulate.

The New York Times reports 22 would-be suicide bombers were killed in an ISIS training class near Baghdad today when their commander-instructor gave them a real-life demonstration of how an explosives-packed belt works. 

Here Comes Mighty Mouth To Save The Day

Donald Trump, truly a legend in his own mind, once again is offering to rescue western civilization, the country and the state of New York.  He would "quickly" make the Empire state "one of the major energy capitals of the world" if he is crowned, er, make that elected governor.  That's what the coiffed one said at a $100-a-plate Republican Party fundraiser in upstate New York and later television interviews.

Catch 22, Palestinian Style

Fatah and Hamas keep talking about reconciliation but, despite having signed several agreements, have made little if any progress in more than half a dozen years of trying.

Palestinian reconciliation has broad support on the streets of the West Bank, which is ruled by the secular Fatah, and the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, a spinoff of the Muslim Brotherhood and considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and many Western countries.

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation is the Catch 22 of Middle East peace making. 

Tetzaveh: Everyone Can Help Build The Mishkan

The lighting of the menorah opens our parsha:

Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly. [Shemot 27:20]

The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parsha, together with the making of the menorah.  The verse also stresses not just the lighting of the menorah, but the donating of the oil for that sake. In this way, it echoes last week’s parasha that opens with a command to donate various items to the making of the Tabernacle.

A menorah from the synagogue of Cordoba. Wikimedia Commons

Do Governors Make Better Presidents?

With Chris Christie's presidential prospects sinking faster than a jumper off the George Washington Bridge and Mitt Romney rebuffing suggestions he make a third run for the White House, many Republicans are looking to other past and present governors for 2016.

The GOP team has a strong statehouse bench, especially since it intends to make this year's congressional races and the presidential contest two years later a referendum on Barack Obama's eight years in the White House.

Israel #1 Free Congressional Destination

When Members of Congress and their staffs take free trips abroad – something they're doing in record numbers these days – their preferred destination is Israel.  And picking up the tab to the tune of $1.7 million last year, was a charitable tax-exempt arm of AIPAC called the America Israel Education Foundation.

My Son, My Mindfulness

The experience of parenting of a child who is affected by the more severe end of the autism spectrum reminds me daily that there are numerous things that I can’t control. My first impulse when my son was diagnosed was to try and “fix” as many of the symptoms of his disability as I could.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Meyer

For Success In Politics: The Right Opponent

Sometimes a Member of Congress is blessed with an opponent who becomes an asset to his or her reelection.

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