Saturday night is a special night: Purim. Some of us will dress up in costumes. Some of us will be preparing hamantashen, and others will be preparing for an old Jewish tradition of supplementing the Megillah reading with schnapps. But all of us who attend a Megillah reading will be equipped with a gragger (noise maker) that we'll use to blot out the name of Haman each time it is mentioned..
For us, Haman is the ultimate representation of the evil threat that periodically surfaces to target the Jewish people. On Purim, we rejoice in the knowledge that Haman was defeated and the Jewish people of Esther and Mordechai's day were saved. It gives us great comfort to blot out the name of the person who targeted our people and failed.
Today, we face another Haman - an enemy we cannot always see or identify. The recent and dramatic increase in anti-Semitic acts is a major cause of concern for all Jews and all Americans. The threats to a large number of Jewish institutions, JCCs and Day Schools have, thankfully, not caused any injuries or physical damage. But these acts have been incredibly disruptive and a source of much anxiety for Jewish parents, children, and professionals alike.
Most of our major Jewish organizations, and many non-Jewish organizations, have spoken out along with so many of our citizens. It is time for all of our voices to be heard. Our current situation bears certain similarities to the Purim story - but the end of this story has not yet been written.
It is a time to make noise, to make our voices louder and more impactful than the voices of hate. This is the time for us, as individuals and as a community, to speak out. This is an opportunity to use our collective voice not to block out what is happening, but to combat hatred in all its forms. Our Federation's website offers information and suggestions to help you stay informed and stay engaged.
When we hear the name of Haman, let's recall the victory of Mordechai and Esther - but let's also not forget that the Jewish story is still evolving. Like our Purim heroes, we too can make a difference.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Sameach.
President and CEO