queen esther

Purim is a boisterous feast for many Jewish people around the world.
Purim is upon us and this year (2016) it falls during the Christian Holy Week. In some ways these two holidays could not seem more different.
As far as I'm concerned, there's never a bad time to wear a straw boater, suspenders and spats while doing the Charleston and drinking moonshine. But the best time to do so is when thousands of other people are doing the same thing.
As an African-American Jewish woman, I endeavor to see the hand of God in all things. How else do I and my people, both of them, come to be standing here, still whole, after all that has been done to erase and diminish our existence on this earth?
Purim is a great drama. It is also a symbol of what our world can be when we abolish the disunity between us. As then, so now, it has to start from the Jews. "Love your neighbor as yourself" was given to us first.
The story as handed down appears in the biblical Book of Esther. The setting was ancient Persia, probably 2400 years ago. The Jewish minority was well assimilated, but viciously hated by some, including a powerful minister of state named Haman.
It is against the backdrop of this very troubled time that the holiday of Purim approaches... and with it, the important message: Do not lose hope for you have been here before.
When it comes to the Bible, it's easy to fall back on standard interpretations year after year, but when we examine a multifaceted story such as Esther's through a modern lens, we see the many ways the story resonates in contemporary life.
When humans take the risk to act with virtue and courage, invisible forces conspire on the side of good. Those who use power to do evil will fall, tripped up by their own tortuous machinations.
I make sure my students end just about every week of term by celebrating a Jewish holiday. We're mostly Protestants, so we're not so good at it; but we have fun, and we learn about Jewish history -- our shared history -- by laughing, eating, dancing and praying, sometimes in botched Hebrew.
Think that Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar? Guess again....
Book lovers, here's a full disclosure about reporter/bookist me and BookExpo America 2011 at New York City's Jacob Javits Center: I go for the giveaways.
After almost a century of Dorothy Height making this country and world a more just, equal, and hopeful place she is now in heaven, and the rest of us are now going to have to step it up down here.
The Purim story has a special resonance this year: The Book of Esther marks civilization's first recorded repudiation of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
When is it appropriate -- and even encouraged -- to show up at your house of worship in full costume, make all kinds of racket, and even get really snockered?
There's a common refrain that sums up the broad themes of many Jewish holidays: "They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.