The Gantseh Megillah

February 1, 2001

I must confess to having a bit of difficulty concentrating on the creation of these comments. My mind keeps drifting to our upcoming trip to Mexico. We will be visiting with my cousin Linda who lives in the community of Ajijic which is located near Guadalajara. This is an especially exciting event for me, as my cousin and I have not seen each other in almost 28 years, and I am truly looking forward to this long awaited re-union! I will try my best to gather my thoughts together enough to compose a reasonably coherent column.

Purim is almost here and once again we prepare for the annual rituals of reading the Megillah (the original, not just this newsletter), making lots of noise with our graggers and eating some delicious hamantaschen. In order to facilitate the latter, Eddy Robey has contributed her mouth watering recipe for these very special holiday treats.

This year I am including some unusual articles pertaining to Purim. Among them is a three part series dealing with “Feminist Aspects of the Megillah Esther.” I realize this is a bit of a departure for The Gantseh Megillah in the sense that I generally try to publish articles that are relatively short and to the point. But I made the exception in this case, because these particulars pieces are so very different and interesting, that I felt it was worth the time of any reader who might be interested in this unique view of the Megillah. And just to stay within the refrain of being a bit different this month, I also included a piece that discusses the moral development of Esther as it is described in the Megillah and how it reflects the position we all find ourselves in today at various times. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on these and any other articles that appear in this months newsletter. You can send me your comments to

Of course, the recent election in Israel and the consequences thereof is very much in the news. In the interest of fairness, The Gantseh Megillah presents a variety of thoughts on the topic. Agree, disagree, but by all means, please discuss. Use the forum ( or use the address to comment directly to the editor (that’s me!) I will attempt to publish as many of your letters as possible in each edition of the Megillah in the Letters to the Editor department.

In the last Megillah I mentioned that the BBC had contacted me in regards to a documentary they are doing on the subject of Comedy in the Catskills. I have since heard from them again, at which time one of the producers on the project interviewed me for about an hour on what it was like to be a performer in the Borscht Belt. At the end of the call, I was informed they would be in touch with me again in about 2 weeks to get some additional comments. At that time I will also find out the air dates and whether or not the documentary will be shown on any U.S. television stations. Stay tuned for more news.

The new forum is still in the works. I sincerely apologize for the delay, but time has been of short supply lately. We are doing our very best to make the necessary changes as soon as we possibly can. Your continued patience and support is enormously appreciated. I shall send out a general notice as soon as the new version is up and running.

One final note concerning the forum of The Gantseh Megillah. I have received several letters from readers who have been using the forum for the purpose of asking or answering questions, or posting comments and ideas on various issues that are raised in the newsletter. I have always encouraged active use of the forum and it is wonderful to see that venue being used more frequently than ever by our family of subscribers. Unfortunately though, there have been several occasions when some of the comments or responses to certain postings have resulted in hurt feelings. While I do not wish to see anyone censor their thoughts or ideas in any way whatsoever, I do request that all entries in the forum be composed in a manner that is respectful to everyone involved. There is never an excuse for sarcastic or disrespectful comments in our forum. I created it so people can get to know each other better, and hopefully learn about and discuss their common Yiddish heritage. Naturally, people will not always agree with each other, and that is perfectly fine. But disagreement can still be conducted with respect. And that is all I ask of anyone choosing to participate in the Forum. Say what you will about any topic that might be on your mind. But always do so with respect for your fellow forum participants.

Okay! I am now off to finish helping Arnold and Jessica pack for our trip. May you all have a joyous Purim. I will report on the reunion with my cousin Linda and other aspects of the trip as well as include some photos in the next Megillah.

My love to all of you.
Michael D. Fein

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