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Who was Esther?

Who was Esther?

THE SCROLL OF ESTHER opens with the strangest of scenes. Reading chapter one alone, you would never know this is a Jewish book or that it has anything to do with Judaism or Jewish history. True, there is the striking absence of    G-d’s name mentioned throughout the scroll, or megillah, but upon studying the text there are opportunities to sense and feel G-d’s guiding presence. But chapter one? It reads more like a modern-day Mardi Gras party, or upon careful study, a party with more licentious motives.

Why open the megillah painting such a scene? It could have simply started off with the fact that there was no queen and that a search for a new queen was about to commence, and then proceed with the selection of Queen Esther.

What’s the point of all the party detail? Chapter one gives the megillah, and more specifically Esther’s challenging circumstances, a context.

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Yes, a refuge

Netanyahu is sending a message to world Jewry, specifically European Jewry, that Israel is ITS home. And he is being criticized for it with anger, as if saying Israel is there for you as a homeland is a bad thing. “We say to you our brothers and sisters, Israel is your home. . . Israel is the home of every Jew, waiting for you with open arms.” The response by French and Danish leaders? Rejection and criticism, as if Netanyahu were expressing a controversial thought, sparking conflict....
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They weren’t ‘random’ attacks

On a day when many of us were perplexed and appalled by the White House’s strange referral to the attack on the kosher deli in Paris last month as “random” (and by the painfully embarrassing response about this by Jen Psaki) — an attack the French government immediately recognized as obviously anti-Jewish, not to mention the terrorist himself professing this (while holding the Jews hostage he called a local news station, saying, “I am killing Jews”), on such a day, three recognizable...

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 February 2015 09:27 )

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Powderhounds . . . Skibrews

WE COLORADANS are blessed to live here. Winter is a season we love and look forward to. Unlike so many other places in the country and even the world, where winter is dreaded, we are under the magical spell of cold mountain air and snowy days with snow so powdery that falling into it is like sinking into a fluffy pillow. With that kind of snow, no wonder many of us (me included) are complete snow snobs. When Snow Industry of America (SIA) comes to town, we get to share that love. Officially, it...

Last Updated ( Friday, 06 February 2015 09:32 )

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Rabbi Rosenfeld

Ezekiel the prophet links Noah, Daniel and Job together (14:14) as righteous men. What was the connection? Rashi and the rabbis explain that these three men saw their worlds destroyed, and then somehow found the wherewithal to rebuild. Noah, on a universal level (the utter destruction of civilization, then its subsequent rebuilding); Daniel, on a national Jewish level (from a Temple in its glory to its destruction, exile and then its rebuilding); and Job, on a personal level (painfully bereft o...
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Shabbat Times

JTA News

From The Onion to Daily Show, a roundup of Speechgate satire

Gabe Friedman The lighter side of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s much anticipated speech before Congress Tuesday. ... [Link]

For Vail’s Chabad rabbi, inspiration comes on ski slopes

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Julie Wiener Since its inception nine years ago, the Nonprofit Security Grants Program has provided more than $110 million to Jewish schools, synagogues and other nonprofits. ... [Link]

Argentine president’s full-page ad discredits Nisman’s complaint

Julie Wiener The advertisement published Wednesday says the complaint prepared by the late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman is “filled with contradictions, illogical, with no legal basis.” ... [Link]

Isaac Herzog hopes to speak softly and carry Israel’s election

Ben Sales The leading contender to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 17, Isaac Herzog represents a change not just in substance, but in style. ... [Link]

Obama: Netanyahu said ‘nothing new’ and offers ‘no viable alternative’

Marcy Oster If no deal is signed then “Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they’re doing, and witho... [Link]

U.N. envoy calls for investigation into civilian Gaza deaths

Marcy Oster Makarim Wibisono recently took over as the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. ... [Link]

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