Sometimes, it is about the food and on Purim it is about Hamantaschen and choosing the right filling. It doesn't matter what the dough is like, it is all about what is inside!
The story of Purim recalls a time in our history, when the Jewish people once again were able to overcome a significant external threat by leveraging the intrinsic power of position and their relationships to those in power. We are told that Queen Esther was able to leverage her position and status by admitting she was Jewish and convincing the King to rescind his decree to eliminate the Jewish people. At great personal expense, she revealed her true Jewish identity, and with an outstanding degree of courage, was able to influence those in power to reverse the "evil decree" that threatened the lives of all Jews in Persia and save our people from annihilation. It was all about what was inside Esther that she was able to call upon that enabled her to become a force for good.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "The ultimate measure of a (wo)man is not where (s)he stands in moments of comfort, but where (s)he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Each of us will likely face such challenges in our life and we will have to decide if we have the courage to reach down and tap those core fundamental and deep seated qualities we carry with us that we sometimes keep hidden. Esther kept her Jewish identity a secret to save herself but chose to reveal it in order to save her people. What a powerful lesson and example for all. Revealing ones' inner potential can be a force that ignites change and positive behavior in others.
Responding to reports of vandalism at two Hartford Jewish cemeteries, I received the most incredible letter from Reverend Kelly Jane Forbush, Senior Pastor at the First Congregational Church in East Hartford. Like Esther, Pastor Forbush revealed a genuine, fundamental belief in the power of relationships. Sharing a universal belief in reaching out to help ones' neighbor, the First Congregational Church collected $265 to help defray the cost of repairs to our fallen tombstones.
Pastor Forbush and her congregation stood up at a time when it would be easy to remain seated and we are forever grateful.
With her permission, I am sharing the beautiful letter we received from the Pastor and her entire congregation. Please note that this letter was signed by 44 members of her congregation. It is a beautiful statement of compassion, respect, support and reconciliation which we deeply appreciate:
Greetings and blessings be upon you! We were heartbroken to hear about the recent vandalizing of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in Hartford. To disturb burial places is not only disrespectful, but also deeply hurtful to the family members of those deceased. In this case, the entire community experiences the pain. After centuries of antisemitism, disregard and persecution of Jewish people, a crime such as this strikes an old wound.
Unfortunately,the church has been a large player in the hate and harm Jewish people have faced since the birth of the Christian faith. For that we are deeply sorry. We pray and hope that such animosity will dissipate in our current day. In an effort to put action to our words, please accept this donation to the rebuilding of the toppled tombstones or for the general work of maintaining the Jewish cemeteries of greater Hartford. If there are other ways we can support you, we would be honored.
In Peace, Rev. Kelly Jane Forbush
We all have the power to unleash our own unique potential but what is even more powerful is when we can be a catalyst in helping others tap into their potential for doing good.
Remember, it is all about the filling!
President & CEO