Sunday, February 24, 2013

STUNNING PHOTOS OF 2012 and Happy Purim with its History

Gratitude For Your Memory and Brain

"I am grateful for my memory." How often do you hear people saying this? Do you hear this more frequently or do you hear something like this, "I can't remember. I'm always forgetting things. My memory isn't what I would like it to be."

Hopefully after people read this section, they will develop the habit of consistently being grateful for what they do remember. And they will express this gratitude so frequently, that others will also develop the habit of expressing gratitude for their memory. And many more people will hear those people expressing this gratitude, and they too will express their gratitude.

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Machalis in Jerusalem explains our connection to the fun and spiritual holiday of Purim on this  Video from Israel

Today in Jewish history--The holiday of Purim

14 Adar
In 355 BCE, the Jews celebrated their successful defeat of Haman's anti-Semitic mobs, an event we commemorate today with the Purim holiday.We read the Megillah (Scroll of Esther), dress up in costumes, and celebrate how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation, thanks to the bravery of Esther and Mordechai. In Shushan, the Persian capital, however, the battle lasted one additional day and Purim was not celebrated until the 15th of Adar. Thus today in Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated one day later than the rest of the world. (During Jewish leap years we celebrate Purim in the second month of Adar.)

Adar 14 is also the day in 1912 that Henrietta Szold founded Hadassah, the women's Zionist organization. In 1892, even before Herzl's activities, Szold and her father formed the first Zionist society in Baltimore, and Hadassah was her idea to mobilize American Jewish women in support of Israel. In 1920, Szold made aliyah, wher she supervised the opening of Hadassah medical units, playgrounds and public health programs. At age 73, Szold, as head of the Youth Aliyah Department, traveled to Germany where she worked to save Jewish youth destined for Hitler's ovens. Szold is buried in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. Today Hadassah operates the largest hospital in Jerusalem, and its 300,000 members make it one of the largest women's organizations in the world.
Also on this day, in 1942, in the town of Zdunska Wola in Nazi-occupied Poland, 10 Jews were hanged by Hitler's SS, in a sadistic parody of events in the Book of Esther. To add to this debacle, the Gestapo ordered all Jews out of their homes in order to witness the hangings. On Purim day the following year, 1943, there was another 'Purim massacre' in the Polish town of Piotrkow, where 10 Jews were executed. Hitler harbored a venomous hatred for the holiday of Purim: When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he banned the reading of the Book of Esther, an ordered that all synagogues be closed and barred on Purim day. "Unless Germany is victorious," he proclaimed, "Jewry could then celebrate the destruction of Europe by a second triumphant Purim Festival." Incredibly, when Nazi officer Julius Streicher ascended the gallows to be hanged at Nuremberg, he shouted, "Purimfest 1946."

14 Adar

Mordechai said to respond to Esther, "Do not think that you can save yourself [from Haman's decree of annihilation] because you are in the royal palace" (Esther 4:13).

Esther, the heroine of the Purim episode, received this sharp rebuke from Mordechai. No Jew should ever assume that Antisemitism will affect only others but not oneself. No one has immunity. Every Jew must know that he or she is part of a unit, and a threat against any Jew anywhere in the world is a threat to all Jews.
History has unfortunately repeated itself many times. Spanish Jews who held powerful governmental positions were sent into exile along with their brethren. Jewish millionaires and members of European parliaments were cremated in Auschwitz ovens. Throughout the ages, those who had thought to escape anti-Semitic persecution by concealing their Jewish identities sadly learned that this effort was futile.
Esther accepted Mordechai's reprimand and risked her life to save her people. In fact, the Megillah (Book of Esther) tells us that Esther had not revealed her Jewish identity because Mordechai had instructed her to keep it a secret. She never would have stayed hidden in the palace and watched her people perish. Mordechai spoke his sharp words not to her, but to posterity.
Some people simply refuse to accept history's painful lessons. In defiance, they continue to say that they will be different. Neither any individual who feels secure for any reason nor any community that lives in what it considers to be a safe environment should have this delusion of immunity.
Mordechai's message reverberates throughout the centuries: "Do not think that you can save yourself by hiding when other Jews are being persecuted."

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