Image of a Purim gragger (noise-maker) via WikipediaGreetings.
Jewish date: 12 ’Adhar 5770 (Parashath Teṣawweh).
Today’s holidays: Friday of the First Week of Lent (Roman Catholicism), Ayyam-i-ha (Bahá’í Faith), Mawlid an Nabi (Islam).
NOTE: Yesterday your humble blogger did not post because it was Ta‘anith ’Esther (the Fast of ’Esther). There is good chance there will be no post on Sunday, which will be Purim. For more information on Purim, see the Orthodox Union’s articles on the holiday.
Worthy cause of the day: “Save BioGems: Take Action: Whales in Danger”, “Take Action: Tell Royal Bank of Canada's CEO to Stop Financing the Tar Sands”, and “Take Action: Break Up Insurance Monopolies”.
Topic 1: Purim was founded in commemoration of the incidents recounted in the Book of Esther, specifically the attempt by Haman to destroy the Jewish people and how Mordekhay and ’Esther foiled his plans. So if you thought I was going to avoid the much-discussed topic of anti-Semitism, forget it. “ License Fee Revolt” deals with the refusal of a Jew in England to pay his television license fee in protest of the BBC’s severe anti-Semitic bias in reporting on Israel. I wholeheartedly approve of such nonviolent protest. Meanwhile, while the political right in Israel is cheering the government’s recent naming of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Raḥel’s Tomb national heritage sites, in Ḥevron the Arabs reacted by attacking Israeli soldiers. This sort of “protest” I do not approve of. It is the political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum. Such a quick resort to violence when one does not get one’s own way, in fact when no one is going to die or be hurt in any way if no action were taken, suggests one has no real argument why the other side is wrong. The correct response to such infantile behavior is the same as for any temper tantrum: uncompromising refusal to give in, lest one reinforce the big baby’s misbehavior. The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, also put in his proverbial two cents, essentially pooh-poohing the naming of national heritage sites in territory that Arabs want (but do not have any legitimate claim to), completely ignoring what will happen to these sites if they ever fall under Muslim control. (Anyone remember what the Arabs did to Yosef’s Tomb? Hint: It is not there anymore.) “Where is Goldstone now?” why accidental casualties in Afghanistan are no big deal when they are in Gaza. “Israel's Fleet Street enemies” complains about reporters fabricating negative stories about Israel. And to top it all off: “Palestinian Authority: Still Stealing "Hundreds of Millions," Hamas Taking Over - Hudson New York”.
Topic 2: “American foreign policy's God gap”. To make a long article short: The United States government has long ignored religion as something important in foreign policy. Only recently have they begun to realize this is a mistake. Considering how widespread religion is in human culture and how tangled it is with politics, this was obvious to a lot of people decades ago.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: One of the practices of Purim is humor. (Religion in general is a serious business, so this is a deviation from the norm.) Since I may well not post on Purim, I present “UK Warrant for Queen Esther's Arrest”, “Rebranding and Renaming iSrael”, “Top 5 Israel Groups On Facebook”, a sizable list of spoofs by The Jewish Week News, and this video summarizing the Book of Esther, which is read on Purim:
If I post on Purim, expect more. And, no, I have not seen any Purim-themed LOLcats. Peace, Shabbath shalom, and happy Purim.