TI to hold “Purim and the Jewish Response to Antisemitism” on March 13

Temple Israel will hold the presentation “Fighting for Their Lives: Purim and the Jewish Response to Antisemitism,” featuring Dr. Wendy Love Anderson, on Sunday, March 13, at 10:30 am, on Zoom. To make a reservation and receive the Zoom link, contact Tammy Kunsman at the temple office at 723-7461 or titammy@stny.twcbc.com.

Anderson will explore some of the ramifications of the escalation of antisemitism over the past few years. The program will look at the story of Esther as a case study in anti-Jewish rhetoric and political persuasion. It will borrow from ancient medieval and modern Jewish commentaries on Esther to explore different models of responding to antisemitism in the present day. Among the questions Anderson will ask is, “How should Jews respond to antisemitism?” with possible answers including whether Jews should build more connections with non-Jews, anticipate divine deliverance or just eliminate their enemies as expeditiously as possible. 

Anderson is a fourth year rabbinical student at the Academy of Jewish Religion and has received a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Chicago. She is presently assistant director of academic programs at the Center for the Humanities at Washington University in Saint Louis.

“We feel this program is timely in light of what has been happening in the United States over the past few years,” said organizers of the event. “The ADL reported a 12 percent increase in antisemitic incidents in 2019 over the previous year. In 2018, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was violated. Several months later, a gunman using an AR-17 weapon attacked the Chabad at Poway synagogue in California. Hostages were taken at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX.”

Organizers added, “A recent survey by the Public Religious Research Institute found that roughly 41 million Americans believe in the QAnon conspiracy. This is the belief that Satanist pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation control the government and other major institutions. They also subscribe to the belief that authentic Americans are white Christians. Some supporters of QAnon are running for Congress in 2022. Two members of Congress recently attended the American First Political Action Conference organized by Nick Fuentes. Mr. Fuentes, during the conference, praised Adolf Hitler. Join us to learn more about possible Jewish responses to antisemitism.”