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Esther, Mordecai and the Challenges of Exile

Each year, Jews all over the world celebrate the holiday of Purim. They celebrate the miracle of salvation as described in the Book of Esther, with special prayers in the synagogue, public readings of Esther, festive meals, gifts of sweet food packages to neighbors and friends and charity to the poor.  There is a spirit of frolic on this unique holiday as adults and children alike dress in costume, wave noisemakers and toast each other and the community in song and drink.

But there is a more serious element to the holiday as well – reading and studying the Book of Esther.  Join Sondra Oster Baras as she takes us through the Book of Esther and helps us uncover the underlying meanings and ramifications of this wonderful Biblical story to Jewish history and to our lives today.

On Purim, Jews give charity to needy families, helping them join in the festive celebrations and providing vital support for their everyday needs.  The source of this custom is in the Book of Esther itself:  “They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.”  (Esther 9:22)  This Purim, you too can join the Jewish people in this wonderful custom and provide gifts to the poor of Judea and Samaria.

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