Letter From Jerusalem, No. 19

Letter From Jerusalem, No. 19

What a week!

Today, March 13, 2017, is Purim and I want to tell you why we celebrate this holiday with costumes, family and friends to dinners, gifts to the poor, parades and merry making, and hopes that it doesn’t rain.

In about the 3rd century bce there arose in Persia (today’s Iran) the first Hitler whose name was Haman.  He was the King’s (probably Xerexes 1V) chief advisor and he convinced the King that the Jews were a danger to his rule and that they should all be exterminated.  He chose a day for the pogrom, the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar.

Fortunately, Mordecai, head of the Jewish community had a niece, Esther, who had been chosen Queen, and between them they destroyed the plot, saw to it that Haman was hung and that the Jews had a chance to defend themselves.   They did just that and we have remembered that miraculous salvation ever since by reading the story in the synagogue every year.

The little children (and some big ones, too) love to dress up as the chief characters in this drama and parade around the streets with noisemakers as they deliver gifts to the poor.  It is a sight!! Especially if there is no rain.

And the Jerusalem Marathon is this Friday!  Last year there were 25,000 participants from all over the world running in 5 categories, including handicapped children assisted by local volunteer policemen and women.  

From celebration to celebration!  May it always be thus. Come join us.

Anita Ellis