Purim is the Jewish holiday celebrating the Biblical book of Esther.
Basically "They tried to kill us. They failed. We won. Let's eat, drink, put on costumes, and throw a raucous party."
In the lexicon of Jewish holidays, Purim is a fun one.
Like Jewish Mardi Gras...
But, while today is a celebration of Jewish triumph over those forces that wanted to see us exterminated, I'm not feeling particularly celebratory or fun...
CNN reported today - or, at least, I saw it today - that the shooter in Parkland, Florida, had carved swastikas into his guns, which he then used to mow down 17 innocent people, many of them Jews.
Again today, NPR is reporting that, "Anti-Semitic Incidents See Largest Single-Year Increase On Record" an ADL audit finds.
In France, a rabbi's baby was just subjected to an acid attack.
All of this, and much, much more in 2018.
And it's only February.
Despite history's teachings, despite the horrors of the Holocaust, it seems we Jews still bear an unwanted, alien status.
As fascism once again rears its ugly head in Europe and the US, our status as "real" citizens of our respective countries is questioned.
For a faction of the population that's becoming more vocal and more violent, Jews are usurpers, interlopers, manipulators that cannot be trusted.
We are a pox, a plague, an infestation that must be eradicated.
It may be Purim, but some in our respective societies would rather celebrate a purge.
It's a dark, running joke within the Jewish community that many of our holidays are the same - They tried to kill us. We won. Let's celebrate.
That's the story of Purim, of Passover, and even of Hanukkah, to an extent.
We remember it with Yom Hashoah and Holocaust Remembrance Day.
But here we are, in 2018, once again facing a rise in antisemitism, fascism, and Far-Right Nationalism.
No, I don't feel like celebrating.
I feel like screaming, and not to blot out Haman's name.
Sure, we defeated Haman once. But what about the modern-day Hamans?
How long are we Jews going to have to keep screaming to blot out the Hamans for good?
It is said that those who refuse to learn from history are destined to repeat it.
And I am sad to see the beginnings of history repeating itself before my very eyes.
Where is our modern Mordecai?
Will another Esther rise from our ranks?
Need we Moses and another 10 plagues?
What more must we do to make this stop?
Tonight, if my resolve holds, I will go to an "American Ninja Warrior"-themed Megillah reading and celebration.
At first it just sounded like fun...but American Ninja Warrior Jews may be exactly what we need to face down this most recent rise in hatred, and I don't know if there are any Mordecais or Esthers to lead us out of this newest, yet millennias-old threat.
Maybe we need some ninja warrior tactics, as #NeverAgain is looking less and less likely.
Many await the Messiah.
But I subscribe to a saying by some Jewish sage whose teachings were in the footnotes of my sedur. The wisdom goes something like this: Live each day as if there was no God, and that every kindness and human advancement was dependent upon you alone.
I hope to do my part to make the world a better place.
But just in case, a little ninja warrior training can't hurt.