Teens, Purim, and #metoo

By Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Chief of Innovation

Temple Shaaray Tefila of Westchester, NY, 8th grade Rosh Hodesh group

The story of Purim is set into motion when Queen Vashti refuses to appear in front of King Achashverosh’s drunken party of men. Vashti’s story highlights the courage necessary to insist on one’s values, even when it may involve a personal cost of loss of status among one’s peers.

Esther’s story reminds us that sometimes, even if we have entered relationships with a power imbalance, we can, with support, find ways of speaking up and making change.

This year, given the #metoo movement, Moving Traditions suggests we talk with kids of all genders about the powerful actions of Vashti and Esther, different as they are on the surface.

  • Share with teens what your boundaries and values are around relationships, parties, and sexuality.
  • Engage teens in honest conversation about what you and they admire about Vashti and Esther, and what about the Megillah is surprising and even upsetting.
  • Celebrate the courage of women — and men — who speak up for equality and against harassment, in our tradition and in the world around you.
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