By Sam Hausfather
Purim: Raise Your Voice Against Persecution
Adapted from RAC.org
Purim reminds us that the evils of persecution and genocide are ever-present threats to humanity. Haman accuses the Jews of being a people scattered and dispersed who scorn the king’s law and obey their own laws (Esther 3:8-11). As a people who celebrate unique customs and have historically been shunned from the rest of society, the Jews have known a unique vulnerability to persecution.
However, as the end of the book of Esther in which the Jews kill 75,000 Persians while defending themselves shows us, we not only have a responsibility in preventing others from oppressing us, but we must also prevent anyone from experiencing oppression. As Abraham Joshua Heschel says: “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.”
Today, thousands of people around the world are persecuted because of differences in race, religion, gender, or political affiliation. We are currently facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II with over 19 million refugees and 60 million people displaced worldwide.
UNICEF estimates that more than 300,000 children are currently being exploited in over thirty armed conflicts worldwide.
In the United States, we are in the midst of a “border crisis,” which many would say is self-inflicted by the current administration. The refusal of the administration to admit refugees on our southern border is illegal and the creation of child migrant prisons is immoral.
Our Jewish values of upholding the dignity of humanity compel us to feel personally responsible for those experiencing oppression worldwide. In honor of Purim, let us take the opportunity to learn about refugee rights and contact our legislators to express our views about the persecution of vulnerable populations.