A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Is Putin good for the Jews?
"In recent weeks, Putin has positioned himself as a defender of Jews as part of his effort to discredit the revolution that ousted his ally, former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych," reported JTA. Some people aren't buying it. "In invoking Ukraine’s history of anti-Semitism, Mr. Putin and his deputies are not so much trying to appeal to the at least 70,000 Jews there today as to the millions of Russian speakers (many Jews among them) who have watched with ambivalence the toppling of statues of Lenin — still a symbol for older Ukrainians of the triumph of communist internationalism over Nazism," wrote Amelia M. Glaser in The New York Times. "They are also proposing a high-stakes bet: If the true fascist nature of Ukraine’s new leaders emerges, naïve Westerners, including President Obama, will find themselves on the wrong side of history."
"I take no position, at least here, on the course of events in Ukraine. But anyone who dismisses the resurgence of Nazism in the former Soviet Union is, well, doing a disservice to the truth, historical memory and the Jewish community," said Richard Brodsky at The Huffington Post.
What Purim means
This weekend marks the annual holiday of Purim. Commentators sounded off ahead of the holiday: "I believe that the unique challenges of Esther, can be, in the retelling, opportunities to think about ourselves differently. So this year, when we retell the story of Esther, let us use the story as an opportunity to reconsider how we, too, deal with a world where God is hidden, where Jews are a small minority, and where, in some parts of the world, they still face very real existential threats," wrote Rabbi Jordie Gerson at The Huffington Post.
Just watch how much you drink in the celebration, warned Rabbi Joshua Hammerman in The Jewish Week. "All of us are role models, comforters, cajolers and boosters. We need to think long and hard about all the decisions we make with regard to alcohol and drugs. Because we can be sure that somewhere, it will have an impact on a child," he said.