22/23 March 2024, 13 Adar II 5784


This is the first ‘full on’ Jewish holiday post the massacre on 7th October and the war on Gaza. Chanukah was more gentle in our homes. Purim requires synagogue gathering. This year, we must still ensure our Jewish year gets marked. Our children get to experience the silliness of this unusual book of Esther that captures Diaspora Jewish life, as long as we acknowledge the piquancy of the back drop to Purim celebrations this year. I see Rachel Polin Goldberg, mother of Hirsch, as a modern day Esther, speaking truth to power and calling for an end of suffering for all peoples caught in this horror. We adults can have that sensitivity and as Rabbi John D. Rayner wrote in 1987, as Purim came back into Liberal Judaism:

It is all harmless good fun and salutary way of letting off steam provided that you only do it once in a long while and that you know what you are doing. It is when the Book of Esther is taken in dead earnest and when its Cowboys and Indians mentality is carried over into real life and becomes a basis of judgement in actual political conflict it is only then that it becomes dangerous. 

But we at FPS will be having a brief and engaged Megillah and Spiel to honour our festival and do so in the most thoughtful way possible. Please join us – this year all the more so. Saturday 5p.m.

Tots and Children fancy dress parade, than our Megillah and Spiel, followed by a feast of wine, hamantaschen and snacks.  All will be done by 6.15 / 6.30p.m. and we will have fulfilled the compulsion to hear the Megillat [Book of] Esther.

I wrote for Liberal Judaism a Thought for this Week on Parashat VayikraClick here to read on The Crumbley family convictions and a modern take on Sacrifice. 

Shabbat Shalom,