Leading Jewish-Zionist groups in the U.S. have decided to celebrate the holiday of Purim differently this year, and have decided to hold a Megillah reading at the Iranian UN Mission in Manhattan, New York.
The event is sponsored by Americans for a Safe Israel, Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, Jewish Political Education Foundation, and ZSTREET, and its purpose is to “tell the world -- and today's Haman, Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- that we will not be silent as he threatens Israel with destruction and seeks ways to further destabilize the Mideast.”
The Scroll (Megillah) of Esther is read twice during the holiday of Purim, once in the evening and once in the morning, and is the basis for the celebration of the holiday. The story takes place during the time of the ancient Persian Empire, modern day Iran, and hence the comparison between the evil Haman, who ordered that all the Jews of Persia be massacred on the 13th day of the month of Adar, and President Ahmadinejad.
Another reason for the comparison, besides the geography, is Ahmadinejad’s repeated calls to destroy Israel. Since he took office, Ahamdinejad has constantly threatened to eliminate Israel from the map, called the Holocaust an exaggeration, and has referred to Israel as a “filthy Zionist regime.”
The Iranians have also recently downgraded the status of the site known as the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, the heroes of the Purim story who managed to overturn Haman’s decree and save the Jews. The site is no longer considered by Iranian authorities an official pilgrimage site, and Iran has even gone so far as to accuse Esther and Mordechai “for the massacre of 75 thousand Iranians, which the Jews celebrate at Purim.”
The Public Megillah Reading at the Iranian UN Mission will take place on Purim, Sunday, March 20 at noon local time at 633 Third Avenue at 40th Street, Manhattan.
Participants are encouraged to bring their own megillah, groggers (used to drown out the name of Haman whenever it is mentioned during the megillah reading), whistles, costumes, and posters. During the megillah reading men and women will stand separately.
For more information on this event, call +1-212-828-2424.