Erev Shabbat Message from Rabbi Feldman

Dear Friends,
While I was in the Religious School this week, I walked into one of the classrooms and saw written on the board, "Great Women in the Bible".  This caught my attention, so I decided to join the conversation.  The teacher was making a connection between women in ancient days to women today and I realized her timing was perfect because it was International Women's Day.  As I listened to the students share their knowledge of great Biblical women and their passion for some of the exciting stories, I told them that it was a wonderful day to have this conversation. Not only was it a day dedicated to women but also this is the week we celebrate Purim - an outstanding story about two courageous women.
After we talked a bit about Queen Esther, I told the class how much I admire Queen Vashti. We talked about how courageous it was for Vashti to refuse to dance in front of the King and his friends when they were drinking and probably displaying some inappropriate behavior.  We discussed how great it was that Vashti refused to do something that made her uncomfortable and why she can be a role model for modern times.  It was an opportunity to discuss that women should never be made to feel unsafe with their bodies and why women should never feel pressure to do something that they do not want to do.  I was so glad we had this teachable moment together while learning about one of our holidays.
Many Jewish lessons have been written about Esther and Vashti this week. One message that I saw came from the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an organization that is devoted to helping women in poverty and championing for women's rights all over the world.  AJWS recently created an #IAmEsther campaign on social media that is a modern way to honor this great heroine. The description is as follows:
The Jewish festival of Purim is almost here! 
At a time of heightened bigotry and hate, we're thinking about how we can embody the bravery of Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, by standing up for people facing violence and discrimination today. How are you fighting for justice for communities facing oppression, prejudice and violence? How are you embodying the courage of Queen Esther? Share your stories and photos using #IAmEsther.When you share your story, please include a photo of yourself marching, volunteering or fighting for justice in a meaningful way with the hashtag #IAmEsther. And if you have a Purim costume, take a picture of yourself in it, too!
I have said many times that we all need role models in our lives and our role models do not need to be just like us. Our role models can be male or female. Two of mine are Queen Vashti and Queen Esther. These great women teach us how important it is to stand up for what is right even if we may lose something in the process. These courageous, faithful women are amongst a long list of great women in the Bible and worthy of our study.
I hope to see you here for Shabbat on Friday night and Saturday morning, as well as for Purim on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Purim Sameach
Rabbi Adam Feldman
Posted: 3/10/2017 2:20:04 PM by | with 0 comments


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