Reb Lisa's Message

March 16, 2022

Chag Purim Sameach. Happy Purim Holiday. Typically, I would complete the writing of those words with at least one exclamation point. But I’m holding back on that today. Why?

Yes, Purim begins this evening–a festive holiday punctuated with raucous silliness and fun. Yes we are in the month of Adar–the time on the Jewish calendar when we increase our joy. Yes, it is a leap year, so we have had two months of Adar–doubling the joy.

And…our joy is diminished (though not extinguished) by the brutal realities happening in the world, namely the war in Ukraine. We are called to hold complicated, paradoxical realities right now. We are charged with looking at what’s happening, squarely and honestly–even in the midst of our personal and communal joy. In fact, the Purim story teaches us exactly that.

I encourage you to experience the Purim story from this perspective by listening to Rabbi Menachem Creditor in this Facebook post from yesterday, where he shares a teaching by Rabbi Rachel Timoner. Rabbi Creditor shares this teaching on Facebook live from the airport in Amsterdam. He and fellow Rabbis from New York, recently traveled to Poland and the Ukranian Border as part of the UJA Federation of New York Disaster Relief Team.

It is encouraging and inspiring to know that we really can respond to this horror thousands of miles, and worlds away from us. While we may not be able to stand at the border and bring disaster relief ourselves, leaders in our Jewish community are. And we can support them with donations and prayers.

To amplify these efforts, you can support the Jewish Federations of North America "Crisis in Ukraine" with donations. Here's the link.

May Purim ignite us to stand up for what is right, to stand in solidarity with all people who are persecuted and oppressed. May our world move safely and speedily to the other side of this unjust war, such that we may add an exclamation point to our joy.

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