Haman, Horror, and Heroism Offers Eye-Opening Look at Purim

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

February 10, 2009, Toronto, ON

An eye-opening look at Purim—Haman, Horror, and Heroism—will be the focus of an afternoon of study from 2:00–4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, at Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am, 55 Yeomans Road, Toronto.

Sponsored by The Jewish Theological Seminary and Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am Synagogue and Beth Emeth Bais Yehudah Synagogue, study sessions will be led by JTS scholars who will explore the contradictory nature of Purim—frivolity and fear and life and death—wrapped up in a masquerade.

"Jewish Survival: How Scared Should We Be?" will be led by Rabbi David Hoffman, a lecturer in the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics. Rabbi Hoffman will explore how rabbinic Sages balanced the struggle for life and death in a carnival atmosphere and the timeless lessons that are found in the biblical text.

Rabbi Hoffman is completing his PhD in Talmud, writing on notions of honor and anger in rabbinic literature. He was recently appointed by JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen to serve on the Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which helps define the Conservative Movement's halakhic practices.

Dutiful and beautiful, Queen Esther is the perfect wife. Yet her story, which begins with palace balls, ends with bloodshed. Dr. Amy Kalmanofsky, an assistant professor of Bible at JTS, will look at who Queen Esther really is in "Queen Esther: Fantasy or Nightmare?"

Combining her love of the Bible and horror movies, Dr. Kalmanofsky's research applies horror theory to biblical texts and examines the ways the Bible is designed to terrify its audience. Currently, she is completing her book, Terror All Around: The Rhetoric of Horror in the Book of Jeremiah.

The afternoon of study is made possible through a generous grant from the Hereld Fund at JTS.


Open to the community at no charge, registration is required by March 4. For further information, or to RSVP, contact Beth David B'nai Israel Beth Am Synagogue at (416) 633- 5500, the JTS Canada Office at (416) 789-2193, x23, or Tom Wexelberg Clouser, director of JTS's Great Lakes Region, at (248) 258-0055.