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Tag: Purim

This Week Around the World

Jews in Danger

Last week in London, two men were arrested by the police when a pro-Israel protester, standing outside the School of Oriental and African studies was bitten on the cheek and subsequently taken to the hospital.

Four members of the organization, Stand With Us, decided to go to SOAS after
learning that a Celebrate Palestine event was going down – part of Israel Apartheid Week. Two of these Jewish gentlemen, Tony Coren and Gili Brenner, went into the university and held a conversation with the student
participants.

Palestinian child

“We had placards and some information packs, and we had some very interesting and civilised discussions,” said Mr. Coren. However, the situation quickly, unexpectedly turned antagonistic, “About four or five people were standing around Gili, Ro’i Goldman, and the fourth member of our group, Dean Gold. One man
began to say some extremely unpleasant things about Jews. He said that
the best thing the Jews had ever done was to go into the gas chambers.
Dean asked if he could film him. The man said yes, adding that ‘these
things should be heard
.'”

“Another man then came forward and told the abusive man that he did not
have to be filmed or interviewed. Despite the abusive man agreeing to be
filmed, Mr Coren said, the second man, who was “big and burly and of
Middle East appearance,” allegedly launched himself at Dean, grabbing at his
camera, punching him and then biting him on the cheek….There was a struggle and the university security guards came out. A number of other people then began to say we shouldn’t be there. The president of the union came out and said we had made our point. A policeman strongly advised us to leave.”

Jenni Frazer, of the Jewish Chronicle Online, reported:

“Ro’i Goldman, who plans to study in the UK next year, said he was very shocked by the experience. But Tony Coren said he was not shocked, but was angry that the university authorities had indicated that by their very presence, the Stand With Us
protesters had possibly provoked the attack.”

Meanwhile, an IDF officer suffered slight injuries on Yom Purim during a scuffle on Yehuda Hayamit Street in Jaffa. A captain in the Armored Corps, the officer was attacked from behind by an unidentified assailant while sitting on a bench. The assailant stabbed him once in the chest and snatched his rifle.

The officer was evacuated to the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Beyond the Palin

Meanwhile, 2008 vice Presidential nominee, former Alaskan governor, and American Republican Party mogul, Sarah Palin visited the Kotel on Purim. She is scheduled to have dinner with Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife on Monday. Reuters reported that she said Israel is “too apologetic.”

Reuters Has the Scoop

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Hamas men broke into a Reuters office in Gaza and assaulted one journalist, clobbering him with a metal pole and breaking his arm.

Hamas is divided over Mahmoud Abbas’ offer to visit Gaza and conduct conference with Hamas leaders about the formation of a Palestinian Unity government.

Celebrating Purim on a Rainy Day

Rain got you down? Don’t want to leave the house to hear the Megillah again at shul? Well, in honor of Purim, the Israel Antiquities Authority is presenting a new virtual exhibition on its Website of masks and rattles which were discovered in archaeological excavations throughout the country.

Appearing in the exhibition are various masks that portray humans and animals, the oldest of which is from the Stone Age and dates to c. 6500 BCE.
Many ceremonial masks were used for ritual purposes such as rainmaking, curing disease and exorcising spirits and demons. Oftentimes such masks were in the image of deities or demons.

The use of rattles during the reading of the scroll is a symbolic expression of the extermination of the Amalekites, the first people whom the Israelites fought when they were wandering in the desert. According to tradition, the wicked Haman was a descendant of the Amalekites.

Clay rattles that contain small stones or other materials for making noise were found in archaeological excavations around the country. The rattles occur in a variety of shapes, some adorned with a painted or engraved decoration, but all of them produce the same noise that is characteristic of a rattle.

The majority of the rattles were found in a cultic context or inside tombs and therefore there are those who believe that they were primarily used for ritual purposes. The frequency with which rattles occur in excavations throughout the country is explained by the fact that they are small objects which were relatively simple to manufacture and were used by the general population.

There is also the assertion that the clay rattle was a very important musical instrument in the religious services of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah during the First Temple period.

In Preparation for Purim

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, had a go at Mahmous Ahmadinejad, during his weekly Saturday evening sermon. He called the Iranian president the “Haman of our generation” referring to the upcoming Purim holiday, and added the he “can go to hell”.

The rabbi, whose address was centered on the laws of Purim, spoke about the followers of Haman, the grand vizier of Persia.

“In every generation we have Hamans,”

he said.

“Now we have a new Haman in Persia, threatening us with his nukes.”

He went on to further curse the Iranian leader, using verses from the Bible.

In the halachic part of his sermon, Rabbi Yosef made the ruling that Sephardic students in Ashkenazi yeshivot should not take part in the prayer quorum on the Saturday before Purim in order to read the “Zachor” Torah portion separately, in keeping with their custom.

He explained that listening to the verses, which discuss Amalek’s war on Israel, is a Torah mitzvah and therefore each person must do it according to the common pronunciation of their own community.

Rabbi Yosef did not miss an opportunity to tease the Ashkenazim. After imitating the way they read that Torah portion, he said,

“The Sephardim’s pronunciation is the real one. Their accent is wrong. But they insist. They’re stubborn… They don’t want to change. Even their Ashkenazim testify that our pronunciation is the right one, the truth.”

Kabbalah Dog

Kimba the pug is dressing up as Kabbalah Dog this Purim:

Kabbalah Dog

A Prelude to the Purim Carnival

Brazil is celebrating its renowned Rio Carnival this week. It’s a gigantic festival of dance, costumes, and music, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all around the world. At the same time, just across the Western border, Bolivia is also celebrating its very own Carnaval de Oruro. Two South American nations are competing for attention, but my friends, the true carnival is yet to come….

Mark your calendars: The Purim Carnival (“Had Lo Yada”) in Holon is happening in less than two weeks from now, on Tuesday, March 10, starting at twelve o’clock in the noon.

4,000 performers will take on the main streets of Holon, accompanied by large and colorful displays of animals and politicians, including US President Barack Obama, and Israeli President Shimon Peres! It is the biggest Purim celebration in Israel, and one that has become a favorite tradition. So prepare your costumes, dress up your family and friends, and go out to celebrate this Purim in the sunny streets of Holon.

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