The Gantseh Megillah

Passover Then and Now
April 1, 2002

The situation in Israel is worsening by the day. Every time there appears to be a chance for peace, or at least serious talks in that direction, another terrorist attack rips that hope to shreds.

The comparison to what happened in Egypt when we were slaves to Pharaoh comes to mind. The Pharaoh agreed to free us and then at the last minute changed his mind. No amount of talking or attacks in the form of plagues (the killing of the Egyptians' first-born sons) moved him to let our people go. Nothing short of such a horrendous plague could end that situation. Are we now, so many thousands of years later being forced to repeat that scenario?

The Palestinians and the Israelis talk about peace but it does not happen. Cease fires begin indicating peace is at hand, but those hopes are destroyed by hateful acts of violence. Each side uses force to try to convince the other to work more seriously towards a peaceful resolution. They agree to try again only to have the circumstances repeated.

Is it going to take another major plague to move both sides to serious negotiations and a peaceful settlement? Does anyone really want to see more innocent children on either side die before an ultimate resolution is reached? This is what is occurring each day in that part of the world. It is a repetition of the final plague, the slaying of children (adults are the children of someone as well) that is taking place. If the killing does not stop, there won’t be much left to fight for. In Egypt so long ago, only one side suffered the final plague, this time however it is tragically different. Both sides are paying the same price.

While it is impossible to stop a determined person from committing suicide at least the Palestinian Authority can cease referring to these misguided killers as martyrs. They must stop glamorizing these hateful acts and start calling them what they are, cold blooded murder! Perhaps, if the glory disappears, so will the motivation.

As the angel of death passed over the homes of the Jews, I pray the angel of peace will pass into the lives of both the Israelis and Palestinians. It is my wish that we finally have the opportunity of celebrating the time when we Passover war in the name of peace.

I had hoped to have this issue of the Megillah published online before the start of the Passover holiday but unfortunately certain computer issues conspired to prevent me from accomplishing that. It took me several days of extra work to get matters back to normal before I could finally work on the newsletter itself. At least it is ready while we are still observing the holiday.

Last month’s question raised a lot of emotions in people including those who felt moved to vote multiple times. :-) The issue of Jewish identity is near and dear to many of us. I received a number of letters offering comments and thoughts on the subject, many of which appear in the Letters to the Editor page. Here are the results of the voting on the question itself (multiple votes were NOT counted):

Do you agree with the Israeli Supreme Court ruling that grants official Jewish status to people who go through Conservative and Reform conversion?
Yes: 115
No: 20
Not Sure: 3

Work on the new version of the Glossary of Yiddish Words and Expressions is going full steam ahead. The new glossary is going to be database driven, which means you will no longer have to scroll through alphabetical listings to find the word or expression you are seeking. In the new glossary you will be able to enter the word or expression in either English or Yiddish (transliterated) for which you wish a translation, and the answer will appear on your screen. This is a much more user-friendly and efficient way of handling these kinds of searches, but it is a BIG job to create. As a matter of fact, the creation of the database is the most time consuming and technically challenging part of developing the new glossary and it is also the reason for the length of time this project is taking to complete. I assure you work is continuing on a daily basis, and we will try to have your new glossary up and running within a couple of months.

Once again, I thank everyone who has made voluntary contributions to the Megillah fund. The money is being put to excellent use. For those of you who have not yet contributed, please consider doing so. Your help is much needed and greatly appreciated. For further information on how you may contribute, please click on the boxes and links below. Thank you.

May we all have a sweet and happy Passover. Enjoy the Megillah.
Much love to all of you,

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