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Since 1970, the United States has celebrated Earth Day every April. By contrast, ancient Jewish celebrations throughout the year remind us of our responsibility to safeguard the fragile planet God has entrusted to our care. Almost all of our Jewish observances reflect environmental concerns.
Today, comedy is a national vernacular, a social and cultural force. We communicate in memes. We look to late night to process the news. Good (and even dumb) comedy challenges and connects, activates and affirms.
We know that religious freedom is not a lesson from ancient stories, but an ongoing quest even today. While many of us are fighting antisemitism in our home countries, we are also in solidarity with the Rohingya people, who have been persecuted for decades.
All of the fun and merriment of the holiday aside, the true obligations of Purim are not fulfilled if we do not help the needy. With all of the partying associated with the holiday, it is easy to focus on our wants and forget about others’ needs.
A few hours after 8-year-old Sammy Sommer and his parents were told by their amazing doctor in Milwaukee there would be no more treatment for his acute myelogenous leukemia, I met them for French fries at a hot dog stand in Highland Park.