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Sunday, February 15 • 9:45pm - 11:00pm
The Origins of Havdalah in the Book of Esther

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Every week when we say Havdalah, we chant "layehudim hayetah orah v'simhah," "The Jews had light and happiness." This is a beautiful verse from the Book of Esther, but why does a verse from Esther play such a central role in the Havdalah ritual? Reading these two texts together lets us see that the themes of this liturgy of separation and this biblical tale of salvation actually relate beautifully to each other, and leads us to new understandings of both Esther and Havdalah.


Ora Horn Prouser

Ora Horn Prouser is the executive vice president and academic dean at the Academy for Jewish Religion in NY. She has published widely on gender issues and literary analysis of the Bible. Ora has worked with the Melton Center for Jewish Education and the Jewish Theological Seminary's... Read More →

Sunday February 15, 2015 9:45pm - 11:00pm EST

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