Even if you’re a serious student of the Bible, you might not know what the Book of Esther is doing there, in the Bible. Don’t worry though, nobody else knows either. Although it tells of near-tragedy, it is written melodramatically, almost as a farce; and it is very hard to read with a straight face.
Barack Obama told a conference call of rabbis this morning that he supports government funding for after-school and mentoring programs in faith-based schools
We are all a little too dependent on others' approval and admiration. This is not only psychologically unhealthy, but it also may show that one doesn't feel close with God.
Purim, sometimes called the Feast of Esther, is one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. It marks the liberation of the Jews from the cruel prime minister, Haman, through the heroism of the beautiful and good Queen Esther. The story states that she was a vegetarian while in the king's court in ancient Persia. Yes, before it was the fashion, Queen Esther was a connoisseur of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, but poppy seeds were said to be her favorite. It is in her honor that on Purim, poppy seeds find their way into salads, kugels and pastries.
Rabbi Avrohom Czapnik, director of the Jewish Learning Exchange and assistant principal at Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn-Toras Emes, says the unity and friendship that results when we exchange gifts is a theme central to the Purim story.
Our family's Esther was an 11-year-old girl, a petite and doe-eyed child with a profound sense of physical and temperamental modesty. She attended a large urban middle school, and this was her first year moving from class to class, her first year of boy-ask-girl school dances, her first year changing clothes in a locker room.