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Aishet Chayil and Esther
Aishet Chayil and Esther

On Friday nights it is customary to sing a selection of verses from the final chapter of the Book of Proverbs (31:10-31) known as Aishet Chayil, A Woman of Valor. At this time of year [pre-Purim], one particular Jewish heroine stands out: Queen Esther.

May His Name Be Erased
May His Name Be Erased

“Purim Holiday/Purim Holiday/A big holiday for the JewsMasks and noisemakers/Songs and Dance/Let’s make noise rash rash rash.”(Classic Hebrew Purim Song – Hava Nareesha Rash Rash Rash)Although noisemakers are not mentioned in the Book of Esther, …

The Whole Megillah
The Whole Megillah

Whether it’s a long-winded tale, or a story overloaded with details–it’s called a “whole megillah!” (In “the old country” they would have said “a gantse megillah!”)

Fast of Esther
Fast of Esther

“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I and my maidens will also fast in like manner; and so will I go into the king, which is not according to the law; and i…

Hester Panim
Hester Panim

One might think that the Book of Esther is a heroic tale about Mordechai and Esther saving the Jewish people through diplomatic skill, after all God is not mentioned once in the entire text. Looking deeper, however, one is struck by the overwhelming number of “coincidences” of the right people being in the right places at the right times.

The Four Mitzvot of Purim
The Four Mitzvot of Purim

This year, Purim will be celebrated on Sunday, February 24th (beginning Saturday evening, February 23rd, after sunset). Four mitzvot are associated with the holiday:Megillah Reading – Book of Esther – The Megillah is read twice on Purim, once at night …

Costume Time
Costume Time

Those who first hear about the custom of Purim costumes might assume that the tradition began as an imitation of Halloween. Research, however, places the origin of Halloween costumes in the 18th century, while Purim disguises are mentioned in rabbinic texts as far back as the 13th century.

Presidentially Approved
Presidentially Approved

As the only territory completely under the control of the Federal Government, it is not surprising that Washington, D.C. is home to the only synagogue whose existence was enacted by an Act of Congress and signed by a U.S. President.

The Purim Commitment
The Purim Commitment

What does the holiday of Purim have to do with Jews reconnecting to their Jewish heritage?

Finally Buried
Finally Buried

On the 4th of Adar 1307, the Maharam of Rothenberg was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Worms–fourteen years after his death. The rabbi’s remains were released from the fortress of Ensishem when a ransom was paid by Alexander Suskind Wimpfen, who asked only that he be buried next to the Maharam.

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