This year in particular, I felt the need to be there. Prime Minister Netanyahu will be speaking in person, as he has many times during his terms as Prime Minister. His trip to D.C. for the AIPAC appearance has obviously been overshadowed by his speech to Congress the next day. His invitation and the dustup since, has brought the relationship between Israel and the US to its tensest point in years.
Partisanship and political maneuvering aside, some facts cannot be ignored, the implosion of Syria, and the continued pursuit of Iranian nuclear capabilities have put Israel in a very dangerous situation. On this, nearly all Israelis agree, and they very rarely agree on anything. There are indeed vast differences of opinion in Israel on how to deal with these harsh realities, but make no mistake about it, they must be dealt with.
The day after the AIPAC Conference concludes participants, including Jews from every denomination and political affiliation, will return home to their communities and we will be confronted with the story of Esther as we celebrate Purim.
Underneath the masks, and below the farce we are confronted by the existential threat that emanates out of Persia nearly 2500 years ago. The chilling geographic coincidence does not go unnoticed to Jews around the world. The courage of Mordecai and Esther, who represent a powerless diaspora community at the risk of their lives, have inspired us for centuries. Their situation, and tragically Jewish history for most of the last 2000 years, was one of fragile existence. It is a far cry from where we are today, but we do not dare go back.
With a nation of our own rebuilt in Zion, and Jewish communities like the one here in the US, of immense strength and power, we live in remarkable and wonderful days, but as we have seen too often recently, on the streets of France and Denmark, our enemies are not fictional creations or myth.
Purim is a yearly reminder that we have enemies, and that our enemies, in the end, cannot triumph. Jews in times of peace forget the first point. Those in trouble must not lose sight of the second.
We are asked what the theme of Purim will be, year after year. I can’t tell you, but a clue… if you like the TV show Glee, now in its final season, you will love this year’s theme.
We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night, March 4th at 7 pm, as we celebrate Purim with our special Spiel, a musical celebration featuring Wendee and some very talented, or at the very least, well intentioned TBA players. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume and let loose.
Be Joyous, It’s Purim!