It's a rip-roaring tale. Beautiful princess saves her people! Palace intrigue! Failed assassination plots! The triumph of the underdog! So cinematic; so fun! But the Purim story, as told in Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther) also provides a great opportunity to talk seriously about modern-day antisemitism.
Rachel Fish, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism Proud PJ Library Parent Member, PJ Library Nextgen Board
Incidents of antisemitism can occur at unexpected moments and often when we least anticipate them. To experience hostility and discrimination from others because of religion, race, and/or ethnicity is traumatic for adults and children alike, and fear can make it hard to speak up and stand up for oneself. It's a difficult topic to discuss, and for many of us, navigating this terrain feels daunting and explosive. How do we speak, whether in person or via social media, to family members, close friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and, most importantly, our children about such an ugly and painful subject? What is required for each of us to feel confident to enter this conversation and feel as if we are on sturdy ground?
Let's face it, no one wants to have to tell their child that there are nasty people in the world who will try to hurt them just for being themselves. We raise our kids to be good people, mensches, to help and accept others, and to do the best they can to treat those around them fairly and with respect.
The Secure Community Network (SCN), the network of Jewish communal security professionals, national security experts, and religious leaders hosted a series of conversations to aid preparedness for the High Holiday season. Click the link to access the webinars and resources: https://www.securecommunitynetwork.org/high-holidays
The Masorti Movement
This year of COVID-19 disrupted the flow of our lives and created crisis situations that children and adults, families, communities, and nations now have to contend with. With the passing of time, and as many people have already been vaccinated or are recovering from COVID-19, we begin to "receive signals" from the virus; we gain insights on how to conduct ourselves in this complex time, how to further understand the implications of the disease for us and our society, and for the first time, to have hope that we will be able to return to our everyday routines. With these unique circumstances in the background, families will be sitting down at their Passover Seder tables in this, the Hebrew year 5781. With the Passover holidays soon upon us, both at the Masorti/Conservative Movement and at NATAL, Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, it is understood that when a secure and calm environment is created, family can be a source of personal resiliency. The holiday meal, where we read the Haggadah and hold the family Seder, provides a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on the past year. We should ask ourselves what we have learned during this challenging time: what worried us, what caused us pain, what was important to us and gave us the strength to keep moving forward. This "Passover Supplement" is intended to help us turn the Passover Seder into an "Island of Resilience" in the Corona Sea. The suggestions for activities below can be carried out during the Passover holidays or during family preparations for the Seder.
Union of Orthodox Synagogues
COVID-19 health and safety checklist for leaders and organizers of congregations. The document provides a concise yet comprehensive list of protocols to ensure the safe and responsible reopening of places of worship within the community.
Union of Orthodox Synagogues
A series of informational posters in English, designed by the Union of Orthodox Synagogues in South Africa for billboard posting in shuls. The posters contain various public health regulations relating to responsible conduct during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Officer International Rescue Unit & Magen Department ZAKA
ZAKA valuable information and key points which will assist in aiding daily Jewish life during this time.
Israel Trauma Coalition
In times of crisis, community Rabbis and lay leaders have a unique role in maintaining and nurturing personal and community resilience. Rabbis are inundated with halakhic questions regarding prayer gatherings, lessons, issues of closeness and distance. Behind each such question lies significant psychosocial concerns, anxieties, the need for support and maintaining continuity in the face of an unknown threat.