The Latest Coverage of Esther in America


Esther: An American Inspiration

Writing for First Things, Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, Esther in America editor, highlights the role the Book of Esther has played throughout American history. Read more»

Queen Aster and Queen Esther

Writing for The Lehrhaus, Esther in America contributor Dr. Ariel Clark Silver explores the similarities between the story of Esther and Louisa May Alcott’s Queen Aster. Read here»


Queen Esther Goes to Hollywood

In an excerpt from Esther in America for Moment Magazine, contributor Yosef Lindell explores the Book of Esther’s impact on film and television. Read more»

The Esther Aes­thet­ic

In an excerpt from Esther in America for the Jewish Book Council, contributor Dr. Shaina Trapedo examines themes of beauty in the Book of Esther and how they inspired American beauty pageants of the early 20th century. Read more»

No Holiday for Soft Men

In an excerpt from Esther in America for Tablet, contributor Liel Leibovitz explains how the Book of Esther is especially relevant in America’s polarized political culture. Read more»

Esther in America on 929 English

Excerpts from Esther in America were featured on 929 English, including discussions on the Book of Esther’s influence on Abraham Lincoln, King George III and Sojourner Truth. Read more»


  • All American Esther: “I cannot ask for more from a Bible story or from the congregation of gifted readers and writers Halpern has brought together to shed light on its long and protean life.” — James Goodman for the Jewish Review of Books
  • Esther: An American Queen:Esther in America gives evidence of the Bible’s persistent presence in the life of the nation and richly illustrates how Americans have summoned biblical narratives and themes to understand and explicate their own experiences.” — Daniel L. Dreisbach for Law & Liberty
  • Esther in a New World: “An array of scholars, rabbis and educators consider the various roles that Esther — and the scroll in which she appears — have played throughout American political and cultural history.” — Ilana Kurshan for Lilith Magazine
  • Esther and America:Esther in Amer­i­ca is a splen­did col­lec­tion of essays on the com­plex his­to­ry of the Book of Esther in Amer­i­can — and par­tic­u­lar­ly Amer­i­can Jew­ish — cul­ture.” — Josh Han­ft for the Jewish Book Council
  • Turning Fears Into Hopes: “The best essays in this collection are the ones that engage deeply with both the text of the Megillah and those ideas’ resonance in modern American culture.” — Kate Rozansky for Plough
  • A Journey Across the Ages:Esther in America has appeared at the perfect moment, and is certain to inspire conversation, debate, argument, and rebuttal for years to come.” — Jennifer Caplan for The Lehrhaus

Video and Audio

The Esther Chronicles and Shakespeare’s Henry VIII

Esther’s position as both foreigner and sovereign found favor in Shakespeare’s eyes when he wrote Henry VIII. Through verbal echoes and narrative parallels, Shakespeare uses the Megillah as a touchstone for examining the standards of political conduct at the time. Watch here»

The Bishop and the Rabbi

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined Bishop Robert Stearns on The Bishop and the Rabbi to discuss the story and traditions of Purim. (Starts at the 10:25 mark.) Watch here»

Sacred Text and the Esther Exception

While Greeks privilege speech, Jews invest text with a sense of excellence, and yet the presentation of Esther on Purim seems to be an exception. Why is this the case? Watch here»

Reimagining Purim

Esther in America contributor Dr. Shaina Trapedo joined Tablet‘s podcast, Unorthodox, to discuss her essay in the book. (Starts at the 35:11 mark.) Listen here»

Esther in America on JM in the AM

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined Nachum Segal on JM in the AM to discuss the Straus Center’s latest volume. Listen here»

American Purim

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined The Jewish Hour podcast with Rabbi Finman to discuss the essays in the collection. Listen here»