Dear friends, The problems and issues facing the Jewish people and the Jewish faith have grown both more serious and more complex. We live in a world where Israel is increasingly defamed. This de-legitimization is most accurately seen as a preface to moves for its dissolution or destruction. The world is beset by murderous terrorism of a kind we thought belonged to barbaric ages past. People, who seem to be of goodwill, hyper-focus on any act on the part of Israel that can be seen in a negative light, while completely ignoring genuine crimes against humanity conducted with regularity by great powers such as China. Many of us feel that the anti-Semitism of the past is making a comeback. Judaism is also deeply affected by the increasing secularization of society where a great many people see religion as a negative force, blaming all expressions of faith for the aberrations of a few who claim to represent faith. Unfortunately many Jews have become proponents of these views. The extreme emphases on individualism of the last few years discourages people from involving themselves in community which is the ground on which Judaism thrives. It is this gloomy picture that the festival of Purim addresses. In the story of Purim the Jewish people were faced with genocide. However, a most unlikely confluence of events lead to the reversal of the expected outcome. The message of Purim is that G-d watches over us as a people and a faith, miracles happen and we go on with our mission. The message is that we must have confidence in the future of our people and our faith. The message is that if we do our part, there will be, to quote the Megillah, “Light and joy, celebration and gladness for the Jewish people” As it was in ancient Persia, so may it be for us.