Today was an amazing Purim on so many levels. From the amazing spiel our youth performed this morning, to the hundreds who came out for a carnival, to the kind act of a neighbor who ensured that no cars were ticketed, it was an incredible day, but it didn’t stop there.
I left our synagogue and went to the Islamic Center of Central Orange County and was honored to participate on a panel of fellow clergy, state and local representatives, and other officials to stand in solidarity with one another as we remember that every person should be treated with respect.
I shared with the group of over 100 people, many who are Muslim and those of other faiths, that today, Purim, is very much the right time for us to stand in solidarity with one another. I shared a bit of the Purim story and how one woman, Esther, was able to defeat one who wanted to destroy the Jewish people. However, Esther did not do this alone. She turned to her people, the Jews, and asked each of them to send her strength that she would go and speak on behalf of each of them in order to defeat such evil. I then reminded everyone in the Mosque today that each of us have a voice. That each of us have the ability to speak up when there is injustice. That each of us are able to pursue peace. Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof, justice, justice, shall you pursue. That is what we are all commanded to do. Each voice is powerful on its own, but when we come together we are even stronger.
And then I was interviewed by a middle east television station who while they could not say I am Jewish, they asked that I mention this. The question was, why at this event did I feel they chose to pass out a copy of the United States Constitution. I told them, the Constitution represents who each of us are. We are all a part of this great nation called the United States of America, and as such, each of us, no matter our religion or gender, all are afforded the rights set out by our Constitution. Each of us, each person in this great country of ours, is deserving of equality and respect.
So today, Purim, held more meaning because of one woman whose voice rose up to defeat hate and reminds each of us that we have a voice and that each of us can and should work to create peace in our time and forever.