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At sunset, Feb. 23, the Jewish people will begin to celebrate the holiday of Purim (Pronounced by us American Jews as Por-um.) That will be, on the Jewish calendar, the 14th of the month of Adar. …
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At sunset, Feb. 23, the Jewish people will begin to celebrate the holiday of Purim (Pronounced by us American Jews as Por-um.) That will be, on the Jewish calendar, the 14th of the month of Adar. And, the year is 5773.
Until rather recently, this was the holiday during which the Jewish people exchanged gifts. It is due to our being influenced by our Christian neighbors that we began to exchange gifts in December in celebration of Hanukkah.
Look in your bible at The Book of Esther and see what it is that the Jewish people will be celebrating at sundown on Feb. 23. The villain of the story is an evil character named Haman. A man ahead of his time, Haman wanted to exterminate the Jews. His method was to impale every Jew in the kingdom of king Ahasuerus.
The Book of Esther is not very long, and it makes for interesting reading. So, not to spoil then ending for those of you who might want to read it, I’ll just say that a man named Mordecai and his niece Esther were able to convince the king not to exterminate the Jews.
In the synagogue, when I was a child, we loved the story and the celebration of Purim. It was an audience participation show, which predates “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” by several centuries. As the rabbi would read the story, the children would be sitting in the front row with noise makers and every time the name of Haman was mentioned in the story, they would make loud noises as to drown out the sound of his name. Fruit was passed out, and the children paraded around in celebration.
I don’t know if Haman was the first person in the history of the world to decide that the Jews should be whipped from the face of the earth. He was most certainly not the last.
In June 1391, bloody pogroms against Jews in several Spanish cities killed several hundred and destroyed synagogues. At that time, Jews were treated better by Muslim governments than by Christian governments.
But, most notable is the effort to rid the world of Jews (and at the time Muslims) known as the Spanish Inquisition. Its original purpose was to convert Jews from Judaism to Christianity Some Jews escaped to what is now Israel, where their decedents are called Sephardic Jews.
Jews were expelled from England, France, Spain and most every Western European country. Persecution of Jews in Germany began in the 14th century.
The Spanish at the time were not bent on ridding the world of Jews — just their own country. So to the Czar of Russia, Alexander III, who characterized Jews as “Christ-Killers.”
Finally, in 1886 the Jews were expelled from Kiev, as well as Moscow in 1891. And, by 1905 the expulsion of the Jews turned into mass murder and massive immigration of Jews to other countries. Not only did many of the surviving Jews go to Israel, most of them walked there. See “Fiddler on the Roof” to see the uprooting of the Jews in Russia.
The greatest Haman of the world, however, was just about to come upon the Jewish people. Yes, the Reich Fuhrer himself. And, he, like Haman, wanted only to exterminate the Jews. The Egyptians wanted Hebrew Slaves, the Spanish and much of Europe wanted us to leave. But, like Haman, Hitler just wanted all of us dead. And, he damn near succeeded. That is why there is no Jewish Holliday to celebrate the conquest of Hitler or the Third Reich. They accomplished too much of what they set out to do.
President Obama has praised the Muslim Brotherhood, who at a 2011 rally of over 5,000 in Cairo’s largest mosque vowed that they would “One day kill all the Jews.”
Closer to home, during the week devoted to the Holocaust at the University of Colorado, various anti-Semitic epithets were placed on the sidewalks of the university campus.
Also, at the University of Colorado, Boulder, fliers denouncing Israel and the “Jewish/Zionist Lobby” produced by the anti-Semitic National Alliance were posted in numerous places on campus. On the same campus, the Hillel Center’s Israeli flag was defaced with the anti-Israel graffiti: “Stop the Illegal Occupation of the West Bank,” and “Stop the Killing of Palestinians.”
A Muslim student group at CU Boulder has removed a link from its web pages that led users to a site that contains the charter of the Hamas that encourages followers to fight Zionism and to kill Jews.
There is no end to the list of the Hamans of the 21st century who think they can accomplish what he did not.
To them, I must simply point out one quite obvious fact: Haman and his followers are long gone. So, too, the king and queen of Spain, the Czar of Russia, the Third Reich and countless others who sought to exterminate the Jewish people.
And, we’re still here!
Al Jacobson is a Commerce City
homeowner. He writes children’s stories.
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