בסיעתא דשמיא

A Modern Esther Tribute for Purim and Women’s History Month, by Rabbi David Evan Markus

Purim affirms Esther’s stand against official silencing, abuse of power, misogyny and anti-Semitism. At first an outsider, Queen Esther used her insider power to reveal and thwart official hatred that threatened Jewish life and safety. We celebrate one woman’s courageous cunning to right grievous wrongs within corrupt systems. The archetype of heroic woman standing against hatred continues to call out every society still wrestling with official misogyny, power abuses and silencing. For every official silencing and every threat to equality and freedom, may we all live the lesson of Esther and all who stand in her shoes: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” . . .

אל שמר המלכה | God Save the Queen (Hebrew translation, ca. 1892)

“God Save the Queen” is an adaptation of “God Save the King,” a work by an unknown author, first circulated by periodicals in mid-18th century England. The author of the Hebrew translation is also unknown and was published in a pamphlet circulated by New Road (Whitechapel) Synagogue in 1892. We are grateful to the Jewish East End of Londonwebsite for providing the source image for the transcription of this work in the Public Domain. . . .

תפילה לעגונות | Prayer for the Liberation of Agunot, by Shelley Frier List (2005)

Creator of heaven and earth, may it be Your will to free the captive wives of Israel when love and sanctity have fled the home, but their husbands bind them in the tatters of their ketubot. Remove the bitter burden from these agunot and soften the hearts of their misguided captors. Liberate Your faithful daughters from their anguish. Enable them to establish new homes and raise up children in peace. Grant wisdom to the judges of Israel; teach them to recognize oppression and rule against it. Infuse our rabbis with the courage to use their power for good alone. Blessed are you, Creator of heaven and earth, who frees the captives. . . .


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