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  • Jake Herman

Drawing on Esther's Strength to Combat Antisemitism

Chag Purim Sameach!

The story of Purim contains pertinent lessons about what our response should be to antisemitism. Megillat Esther tells a 2,500 year-old story of antisemitism. Queen Esther uses her position of privilege to foil the plot of the King's advisor, Haman, to wipe out the Jews of Persia. There is an obvious moral obligation on Esther to act in order to combat antisemitism and save her people.

When we are fearful of the antisemitism that permeates a society, how can we continue to practice Judaism and celebrate our holidays? Unfortunately this is a question that many in the Jewish community are asking themselves today.

The Rabbis too were fearful of this and first discussed the question thousands of years ago. In Masechet Megillah, the tractate of Talmud that discusses Purim, Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda recounts an exchange of letters between Esther and the Sages. Esther requests that the celebration of Purim and reading of the Megillah be established as a holiday for future generations. The Sages are concerned that by retelling the victory of the Jews over those trying to kill them, the wrath of the nations will be aroused upon us. Esther responds that the events are already well-known. I believe that Esther is reasoning that giving in to the fear of persecution will do nothing to remove the threat of persecution - in other words, we should be unapologetically Jewish.  

JLens operates in the influential shareholder advocacy arena where we are the only voice speaking out about antisemitism and Israel delegitimization. We are often outspoken on these issues in coalitions with secular and other faith-based investor groups. We feel strongly that, like Esther, we have a moral obligation to act against antisemitism due to our unique position and expertise; and that we should wear our Jewish identity with pride, not in spite of, but specifically because of persecution.

This Purim, we invite you to consider how your investments could be used to combat antisemitism through shareholder advocacy. JLens brings the fights against antisemitism to corporations, both through direct dialogue and by engaging in the shareholder proxy process.

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