Photo by Jerry Wadro
Rabbi's Hebrew Class
Feb to April
The members of Congregation Kol Emeth in Skokie, IL, welcome you to our web site. Here you can find out many things about who we are and what we do. Look around and check out our services and the programs you can enjoy here. A website cannot convey the warm welcome that you experience when you come to a service or an event at Congregation Kol Emeth and encounter other friendly people at the synagogue. Please feel free to join us at any time and see for yourself.
Connect With Us
Come and attend one of our services or events and meet the people that are here. We like welcoming new folks into our community.
Please feel free to contact us if you need more information or have questions. You can drop by to speak to someone; it is a good idea to call ahead to make sure that some is available to help you.
We are located at 5130 West Touhy Avenue, Skokie, Illinois 60077. Parking is available.
Contact our office manager Judy Aronson by phone (847) 673-3370 or by fax (847) 673-3376. If she is not available to answer the phone, please leave a message and she will contact you.
However you choose to reach out to us we will try and respond quickly.
"All the World is a Stage"
Shakespeare's lines in As You Like It conjure up the world of Purim. Almost, but not quite. We are introduced to an incredible world in which a stupid king (Ahasuerus) guided by an evil man (Haman) passes a law to annihilate all the Jews in his massive Persian Empire, but the plan is thwarted, and all the Jews saved, by the beautiful secretly-Jewish queen (Esther), guided by her uncle (Mordecai). Can this be anything other than a play, a fable, a fairy-tale?
Surely that is why the holiday of Purim itself was really the birthplace of the Yiddish theater. It was the Purim-Spieler, or Purim players, who would go from house to house, re-enacting the story, and receiving money from householders to whom they would say: "Haynt is Purim, morgen iz ois, gib mir a groshen un varf mich arois!" (Loosely translated: "Today is Purim, tomorrow it's done; give me a penny and I'll be gone.")
Actually to the Jews of Eastern Europe throughout past centuries, the first part of the story, the attempt to destroy the Jews, must have seemed all too real. After all the persecution they had suffered, the expulsions, ghettoization, pogroms--a government edict to destroy all Jews in a country was an exaggeration, maybe, but within the realm of possibility. They would have had no difficulty believing it. (And a little later, alas, it proved to be all too true.)
But the second part, the saving of all the Jews, and through a royal personage, no less, who turned out to be Jewish--this would have been impossible to imagine. No, it would have to be a play. Real life was not like that.
Could this be why we are enjoined on Purim to get drunk? Rava said: A person is obligated to drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordechai" (Talmudic Tractate Megillah 7b).(Before you rush out to stock up on alcohol in preparation for inebriation, I hasten to add that Maimonides, puritanical here as in other areas, "explains" that the Talmud merely means one drinks enough to fall asleep and it is then that one does not know the difference between Blessed be Mordecai and Cursed be Haman.) Is it only in that state that one can believe this story with the happy end? I hope not. After all, we are the people of eternal hope. Despite everything that has befallen us, we have witnessed the miracle of the State of Israel in our own time. Let us therefore rejoice in Purim, reasonably sober, or if not, not, and celebrate our history and our future.