b'WESTERN MARBLE ARCH SYNAGOGUEand risked her life to do so. She managed to do so in a way which drew Haman into the trap of a banquet. Her scheme was successful. Mordecai had been generous enough to bring up his orphaned niece, loyal enough to warn Ahasuerus that he was the subject of the plot to kill him and, above all, would not bow down to Haman which would have been contrary to his faith. The story tells us that the oldest prejudice in the world existed in ancient Persia, as it had when the Greeks came to Judaea and Samaria and when the Romans came and continue to do so down the millennia until today. The concept of the total annihilation of the Jews was part of the story of Esther. Anti-SemitismwassignifiedbyslaveryinEgypt,second-class citizenship under Islam, simple prejudice on a day-to-day basis in countless countries where Jews had no civil rights, could not work in most jobs, including the professions, had to pay extra taxes and live beyond the pale. Very often Jews had to leave their homes many times and from many countries, in fear of their lives as did my great-grandmother leaving Russia/Poland after her husband was murdered in a pogrom, We should not forget either the 850,000 Mizrachi Jews ethnically cleansed from Arab lands in 1948 or those that were hanged in Bagdad from lampposts simply because they were Jews. We must not forget the 6m Jews murdered in Holocaust and those who were specifically murdered by Hitlers retaliation for the death of Hamans 10 sons. Evennow,Hamas,Hezbollah,IranformerlyPersiaandother enemies of the Jews not only want to destroy Israel but all Jews anywhere in the world. That is the dark side of the story. There is a bright side too. We are still here after 3thousand years of persecution, and we are still able to celebrate the Purim in remembrance of the persecutions of the past and in remembrance of G-ds beneficence to us and the gift of the Torah and our sages. We are free to expand knowledge and invention to benefit us allandhumanity,aboveallhonouringlearnedthatmenand women. We honour those who have gained riches but not above the learned. The wealthy are expected to give charity helping to support our community, the poor, scholars and those in need and it is their religious obligations to do that. 40'