On Purim, Jews celebrate a story of resistance. On Sunday, March 19, hundreds of Jews and Muslims, as well as young adults and students from Boston’s variety of faith and cultural communities, will do the same at #ProjectPurim: Resilience in Unity.
Participants plan to flood the Harvard Science Center Plaza to protest racism and xenophobia. We at the New England chapter of Network: the American Union of Jewish Students, a representative body of Jewish students from eight New England schools, will make known that Boston will not live in fear. Joined by Fitna: Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America, we will stand united and defiant.On Purim, Jews celebrate the story of Jewish resilience. I can’t help but draw contemporary parallels to Purim, arguably the first explicit instance of anti-Semitism in history, as today we face eerily similar threats. Bomb threats have forced Jewish community organizations to evacuate and matzevohs, Jewish graves, have been desecrated. And while this makes me fear for my kehilah, my community, I also cannot imagine the nightmarish experiences of my Muslim, immigrant, or LGBTQ friends. Jews are commanded to be merry on Purim, but it is difficult to celebrate as our freedoms are eroding.
Purim is an opportunity to act together. When Haman decreed to annihilate the Jews, the Megillah story states, “The city of Shushan was saddened.” When the decree was overturned, it says, “The city of Shushan was glad.” Shushan was tied to the Jews’ destiny. It faltered when they faltered and rejoiced when they rejoiced. Esther and Mordechai saved King Achashverosh, and ultimately King Achashverosh’s decision saved the Jewish community from a genocidal plot in turn. Just as it was in 400 BC, the Jewish fate is once again bound to the fate of others as white nationalism and racism threaten both our community and our allies.
We at Network are channeling our Jewish energy into action. We are acting on Jewish memory to promote an inclusive society for all.
Network is proud to join the movement against hate with our partners next Sunday. Join us March 19 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Harvard Science Center Plaza.
At the opening rally, a diverse range of students and young adults will speak about their experiences. Participants will hear stories and see performances by members of Boston’s Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQ communities. A bipartisan statement will be read by leaders in both political parties that condemns the virulent hatred our communities are experiencing. Afterwards, we will symbolically celebrate Purim, some of us in costume, through a joyous party featuring music by Jews, Muslims, and people of color. We will not hide from those who threaten us.
United across gender, race, and creed, we are standing up against hatred and making our presence known. We fight for an inclusive political and social environment. We understand that hate comes in all different shapes and sizes. Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, nativism, homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of bigotry may manifest in unique ways, but have the same root.
Join us to symbolically commemorate Purim and declare, together we will show resilience in unity. They will not divide us.
Misha Vilenchuk is the New England Regional Chair and National Campaigns Officer of Network: the American Union of Jewish Students. He is completing his Masters of Arts in Global Studies at Brandeis University, with a focus in non-profit service.