Yeshiva University News » 2014 » March » 12

YU Faculty Offer Insight into Historical, Political and Religious World of Esther

It’s the only book in the Bible to omit all mention of God, the Torah and the land of Israel. Aside from Genesis, it’s also the most written-about biblical work in the Talmud. Throughout the ages, the unique tension in the Book of Esther has made it one of the most fascinating books in Jewish tradition, and also one of the most deeply complex. On March 10, in honor of the upcoming festival of Purim, scholars from schools across Yeshiva University came together to discuss those complexities and their implications for Jewish thought and experience.

"Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim” at the YU Museum

Dr. Aaron Koller and Yael Leibowitz

Co-hosted by the Yeshiva University Museum, Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, the evening, titled “Exploring Esther: The Origins, Values and Power of Purim,” focused on the historical and political context, religious significance and gender roles in Esther. Panelists included Dr. Aaron Koller, assistant dean and associate professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva College; Yael Leibowitz, instructor in Bible at Stern College; Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center; and Dr. Daniel Tsadik, assistant professor of Sephardic and Iranian studies at Revel.

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Yeshiva University Students Pack Mishloach Manot for Kharkov’s Jewish Community 

After spending their winter break volunteering in Ukraine’s Jewish community, a group of Yeshiva University students decided to send their support and some Purim cheer to their friends in the troubled region. On Tuesday, March 11, students packed dozens of mishloach manot packages to ship to the Jewish community in Kharkov, Ukraine, in time for the upcoming holiday.

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“We wanted to do something special for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters,” said Lauren Elefant, program coordinator at the Center for the Jewish Future, who led the January mission. “When we were in the Ukraine, they made us a part of their lives for a week, so we felt the need to show our love and support for them during this stressful period. By sending these mishloach manot packages we hope to enhance their Purim celebrations and continue the long lasting friendships that we made.”

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