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Purim Books - or sometimes a hamantaschen is just a hamantaschen... but then again, maybe not.

Click here if you want to send a PURIM e-card (an electronic hamantaschen #1
Click here if you want to send a PURIM e-card (an electronic hamantaschen #2
Click here if you want to send a PURIM e-card (an electronic hamantaschen #3

[book] Reckless Rites
Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence
Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World
by Elliott Horowitz
March 2006, Princeton University Press.
Esther 9:1 tells how the Jews took matters into their own hands and took vengeance on those who would harm them or who hated them...
From Publishers Weekly: "Horowitz sets out to dispel distortions of Jewish violence and passivity in this combative tome, considering both the "feminized Jew incapable of violence" as well as the opposing description of the perverse, bloodthirsty Jew associated (by Christian scholars) with the book of Esther and the Jewish festival of Purim. Horowitz also takes issue with the manner in which instances of Jewish violence and celebrations of violence have been either ignored or distorted for anti-Semitic and political purposes. "One image that achieved considerable (and understandable) popularity among the Jews of late medieval Europe," he writes, "was that of Haman the villain of the book of Esther who was hanged for his murderous plot against Jews hanging from a tree with five of his sons." There is also the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in which it has been suggested as many as 90,000 Christians were killed by Persians invaders and their Jewish allies, an event alternately ignored or distorted depending on the political climate. Horowitz has marshaled an impressive body of material and keeps several subtle lines of argument at play throughout, but he fails to make ordered sense of the evidence or build toward a satisfying conclusion. Students of Jewish history and Jewish-Christian relations may have less trouble navigating this remarkably sourced volume, but casual readers should expect a demanding experience."
Leon Wieseltier writes that... "Elliott Horowitz's learned, humane, and exciting book will rattle many platitudes and disturb many pieties. Purim will never be quite the same; and the complications that Horowitz introduces into the history of Jewish self-representation will be ferociously debated for many years to come. Horowitz's lack of interest in edification is itself edifying; his love of truth is fully the match of his love of tradition. Reckless Rites is a model of the lost art of troublemaking scholarship." Click to read more.

[book][book] Megillat Esther
(Paperback) by J. T. Waldman

Jewish Publication Society of America (January 15, 2006)
Megillat Esther is commonly referred to as the Book of Esther: but there is nothing common about JT Waldman's interpretation of this Biblical story. In what may be the world's first religious, scholarly comic book, Waldman tells the epic tale of exile and redemption in graphic form. When Esther, a Jewish woman, is made Queen of Persia she must keep her identity hidden, all the while maneuvering to save her people from annihilation. This is a story familiar to many Jews who have heard it recounted every year on the holiday of Purim. But readers of all backgrounds will be entranced by what artist Waldman depicts in his interpretation of the text. At once traditional and groundbreaking Megillat Esther will challenge secular assumptions about the Bible. Each page of Megillat Esther is a visual tour de force and features the Hebrew text with original English translation, as well as opulent drawings depicting the story of the Persian Queen. Traditional interpretations of the story are woven throughout the panels. Megillat Esther presents the reader with a topsy-turvey world in which fortunes reverse and nothing is what it seems. This vibrant, edgy retelling of a classic Biblical tale is sure to amaze and intrigue scholars and laypeople of all religions and comic book lovers alike.
VISIT to see the artwork

[book] On Purim
by Cathy Fishman, Melanie W. Hall (Illustrator), Melanie W. Fishman

Reading level: Ages 4-8 2000. As her family sits down to make masks, a young girl knows it's time for Purim, the holiday that celebrates how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people. It's time for making hamantashen, pastries filled with poppy seeds and honey. Time to place these pastries in homemade paper gift baskets with candy and fruit. Time for the Purim carnival, for playing games and watching the Purim parade. And, of course, time to put on their new costumes and masks.

[book] Purim!
by Camille Kress (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8. Click to read more.

[book] A Very Special Gift
by Shifrah Gettinger, Tova Leff (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8. Gali is a little girl with a big idea. She wants so badly to give something to her mother. Abba gets a Lulav and Esrog for Succos, her brother gets colorful candles to use on Chanukah, and all Jews got the Torah on Shavous. So, Gali decides that Purim is the time for her mother to receive a very special gift. Step by step, Gali saves and plans and works toward her goal. But then, an awful mistake seems to ruin everything. Imma's gift becomes worthless. . . or does it? A Purim book with a year-round message about finding the good in everything. The beautiful, full-color illustrations are a treat. Click to read more.

[book] Haman and the Jews
A Study of Haman in Rabbinic Literature
by Elaine Rose Glickman

Hardcover - 248 pages (November 1999). Jason Aronson. A perceptive study of the standard and psychological archetype of the Haman character from the Book of Esther, and an exploration of the way the rabbinical sages treated his character in their writings and commentaries, interpreting the Purim story from the vantage point of their own problems with pogroms, riots, and persecutions.

[book] Make Your Own Megillah
by Judyth Saypol Groner, Madeline Wikler, Katherine J. Kahn (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8. The Purim story retold for young children with colorful pictures plus pages to color and assemble into a scroll. Purim crafts, recipes, party games and songs. Click to read more.

[book] Esther's Children
The Jews of Iran: Their story, their history, their lives
By Edited by Houman Sarshar

This magnificent volume makes available for the first time a comprehensive history of the Jews of Iran from their earliest documented settlement in that land in 722 B.C.E. through the end of the twentieth century. Lavishly illustrated in full color with more than 500 images of monuments, manuscripts, objects, ketubbot, and individual and family portraits collected from private and public archives the world over, this unique book includes 25 articles by distinguished authors and scholars in the field of Judeo-Iranian studies. Six of the articles are historical essays that examine the status of Jews in various periods of Iran's history from the Achæmenid Empire to the advent of the Islamic Republic. The remaining articles explore a variety of cultural and sociopolitical subjects pertinent to each historical period. The book ends with a comprehensive bibliography of Judeo-Iranian scholarship containing over 600 English, French, German, Hebrew, and Persian books and journal articles. Click to read more.

[book] Queen Esther, the Morning Star by Mordicai Gerstein
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover - 32 pages (February 2000). Simon and Schuster. Esther and Mordechai face off with Haman in this retelling of the scroll of Esther. The artwork has a Persian motif. The characters wear their expressions like Purim ball disguises and masks (for who is truly disguised in the this story??).

Edited by Adele Berlin

Jewish Publication Society. 110 Pages. THE CLASSIC STORY OF the Jews living in the Diaspora. A translation and commentary on Megillat Esther. Adele Berlin asserts that The Book of Esther is "implausible as history, and , as many scholars now agree, is best viewed as imaginative storytelling, not unlike others that circulated in the Persian and Hellenistic periods among Jews of the Land of Israel and of the Diaspora." Many scholars like to show the similarities of Mordechai and Esther and Marduk and Ishtar, the Persian gods. Berlin asserts that the holiday of Purim existed in ancient Judaism as an early Spring carnival, and was then converted into a more Jewish holiday. She views the Book of Esther as a classic farce, a purimshpiel meant to evoke laughter.

[book] Purim Play by Roni Schotter, Marylin Hafner (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover - 32 pages 1 Ed edition (March 1998) Little Brown & Co Frannie is upset because an elderly neighbor is going to play the part of Haman in this year's Purim play, but Mrs. Teplitzky surprises everyone with her acting ability. Includes facts about Purim and a recipe for hamantaschen, a traditional Purim pastry.
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[book] Queen Esther Saves Her People by Rita Golden Gelman, Frane Lessac (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover (February 1998) Scholastic Trade. Although there are a number of books about the Jewish holiday Purim, including Purim Play by Roni Schotter, this is a particularly well told version. The biblical story centers on the young girl Esther, who is taken into the court of the Persian king and then finds herself in a position to save her people, the Jews. Gelman personalizes the story with details: "The young women [of the court] spoke many languages. They were of many religions. And they were all beautiful, each in her own way. Esther enjoyed meeting women from many different parts of the empire." Click below to read more...
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[book] Esther by Miriam Chaikin
Paperback (September 1995) Jewish Publication Society
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[book] Esther's Story by Diane Wolkstein, Juan Wijngaard (Illustrator)
Hardcover (February 1996) William Morrow & Company. Ages 4-8 Cast in the form of a diary, the story of the young woman who saved the Jews also incorporates midrash, folktales, and the author's own musings. Persian costumes and motifs are used in the striking pictures to excellent effect.
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[book] Here Come the Purim Players! by Barbara Cohen, Shoshana Mekibel (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover (February 1998) Union of American Hebrew Congregations. The Jews living in the Prague ghetto gather to watch a troupe of local players reenact the story of Queen Esther.
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[book] Every Person's Guide to Purim by Ronald H. Isaacs
Hardcover (February 1999) Jason Aronson
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[book] Multiglossia in Judeo-Arabic : With an Edition, Translation, and Grammatical Study of the Cairene Purim Scroll by Benjamin H. Hary
$76. Hardcover (October 1992) Brill Academic Publishers. contains a study of multiglossia in Judeo-Arabic in addition to a critical edition, annotated translation, and a cultural and a grammatical study of The Purim Scroll of the Cairene Jewish Community, written in 1524 to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews of Cairo from Ahmad Pasha, the governor of Egypt. `Multiglossia' is a linguistic state in which different varieties of a language exist side by side in a language community and are used under different circumstances or with various functions. `Judeo-Arabic' has been written and spoken in various forms by Jews throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Click below to read more.
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[book] The Purim Anthology by Philip Goodman
Paperback - 526 pages (September 1988) Jewish Publication Society.
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[book] Purim Its Observance and Significance
Hardcover (February 1991) Mesorah Publications.
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[book] Esther in Medieval Garb : Jewish Interpretation of the Book of Esther in the Middle Ages (Suny Series in Judaica : Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion) by Barry Dov Walfish
Hardcover (October 1993) State Univ of New York Press. Drawing on many commentaries that exist only in manuscript, and that have not previously been known or studied, explores the role of the Book of Esther in the intellectual and cultural life of Jews during the Middle Ages. Walfish surveys the Jewish and non-Jewish sources for exegesis and explains literary and theological issues, then shows how the story appeared in such contexts as the European perceptions of Persia, Jewish-Gentile relations, antisemitism, and the royal court.
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[book] Travels and researches in Chaldua and Susiana : with an account of excavations at Warka, the "Erech" of Nimrod, and Shaush, "Shushan the palace" of Esther, in 1849-52 by William Kennett Loftus
For more information click below.
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[book] Padyavand (Judeo-Iranian and Jewish Studies Series, No 1) by Amnon Netzer (Editor)
Hardcover Vol 1 (April 1996) Mazda Pub. For more information click below.
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[book] Israel and Iran in Talmudic Times : A Political History (Studies in Judaism) by Jacob Neusner
Hardcover (February 1987) University Press of America. For more information click below.
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[book] Jadid Al-Islam : The Jewish 'New Muslims' of Meshhed (Jewish Folklore and Anthropology Series) by Raphael Patai
Hardcover (January 1998) Wayne State Univ Pr;. For more information click below.
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