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Jewish Heroes

Jewish Heroes

The Story of Purim provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about heroes and heroines.

by Dina Lehrman

The following three workshops are geared for children ages six to 14. We recommend that parents take part in the workshop with their children.

  1. My Hero: a workshop geared for children ages six to 14 and parents that explores what it means to be a hero.

  2. A Purim Heroine: Esther, a model of Jewish heroism.

  3. My Jewish Hero: Submit your personal experience about meeting a Jewish hero.

My Hero

We may never be called upon to do anything heroic, but who we admire suggests the kind of people we want to become.

1. List 3 people you would call your hero.

  1. ____________________________

  2. ____________________________

  3. ____________________________

2. Why do you call each of these people your heroes? List some of their good character traits.

  1. ___________________________________ _____________________________________
  2. ___________________________________ _____________________________________
  3. ___________________________________ _____________________________________

3. Fill in the name of your heroes at the top of each column and check off the traits that each hero has:

Are your heroes: Hero #1
_________
Hero #2
_________
Hero #3
_________
Cool      
Wealthy      
Quiet      
Loud      
Strong      
Funny      
Smart      
Courageous      
Pretty/Handsome      
Tough      
Generous      
Thoughtful      
Famous      

4. In which way would you want to be like your heroes?

5. Is there any way you would not want to be like your heroes?

6. Who would you call a Jewish hero? What did that person do that was heroic?

7. Did your Jewish hero do something for the Jewish people? Or is he or she a hero that just happens to be Jewish?

8. Have you ever met a real hero?

A PURIM HEROINE

Esther, the Queen of Persia, could have kept her Jewish identity secret. But when her people were threatened, she risked her life to save her people.

The Story of Esther is a story of one woman who changed the course of history. It's a story that sounds like it could be a Disney fairy tale, but it's actually a story found in the Bible; it is read every year on the holiday of Purim.

Esther was a regular person who ended up being chosen as the Queen of Persia in the city of Shushan. She did not tell anyone that she was Jewish. Only her uncle Mordechai knew her secret.

Soon after Esther was chosen to be the queen, King Achashverosh appointed Haman as his second in command in his kingdom. Everyday Haman noticed Mordechai standing outside of the palace. While everyone bowed down to Haman as he passed, Mordechai, for religious reasons, refused to bow down to a person; he would only bow to God.

Haman was so furious that Mordechai would not bow to him that he chose lots to see which day would be a good day to kill Mordechai and his Jewish people. He chose the 13th day of the Jewish month of Adar.

Now Esther heard the news and could have sat by waiting to see what would happen. She had a good life. She was safe in the palace. But she knew that her people weren't going to be saved unless she went to the king and tried to stop the terrible thing from happening.

There was one catch. She could only go to the king if she was invited to see him. If anyone, including the queen, went to the king without an invitation, that person could risk being killed on the spot. No invitation came.

Finally, Mordechai told Esther that the time had come for her to help her people. God had made sure that Esther had been chosen as the queen, so that she could help her people when the time was right. The time had come and Esther was ready to stand up for what she believed in.

With tremendous faith in God and her mission, Esther approached the king's chambers, knowing that her life was at risk. She glanced up to see if the king would motion her to enter. If he did, it meant that the king was willing to meet with her. If he didn't, she would receive her punishment.

The king slowly motioned for her to come in. He told Esther that he would grant her any wish she desired. Esther took a deep breath. She humbly requested that the king come to a party along with Haman the following day. The king accepted the invitation.

At the party, Esther invited the king and Haman to another party which was planned for the next day. At the second party, while the king and Haman were sitting together, she told the king about the plot to kill her people and to kill her, since she too was Jewish. The king was shocked, "Who is this person who is trying to do this terrible thing?" he demanded. Esther pointed to Haman and said "This man is the one who wants to kill me and my people."

The king hung Haman that very day on the gallows that Haman had built to kill Mordechai. And then the king appointed Mordechai to be his second in command instead of Haman. The king gave Mordechai his royal seal.

With the permission of the king, Mordechai and Esther sent out letters to all the Jews telling them to prepare to protect themselves on the day that Haman had planned to kill them. The Jews defended themselves on the 13th day of Adar and on the following day, the 14th of Adar they celebrated their victory. That's why we celebrate the holiday of Purim every year on the 14th of Adar.

Can you imagine, around 2,000 years ago, one woman, willing to stand up for what she believed in, stopped the Jews from being destroyed. Esther risked her life to save her people. One person can make the difference.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think Esther did the right thing by risking her life for the Jewish people? Would you have had the guts to do what Esther did?
  2. Was there a time when you stood up for what is right, even though you may have suffered for it?
  3. Think of two people/things/concepts that are very important to you. Would you be willing to stand up to defend them if the situation arose?

MY Jewish HERO

There are Jewish heroes out there. Do you know who they are? Can you tell us about them?

The Story of Esther tells us about a Jewish Heroine from a long time ago. We're looking for your stories of Jewish Heroes from today.

Stories will be selected and posted on our site. The author of any story that is chosen will receive a special e-mail certificate in recognition of his or her contribution and can also request that another certificate be sent to another address (i.e. teacher, principal, relative). We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Remember:

  1. Your "heroes" can be everyday, ordinary people who did extra-ordinary things.
  2. Your "heroes" don't have to fit into anyone's idea of what is a hero.
  3. They can be famous or known only by you!
  4. Be creative. You can write a story about your hero. You can write a mock interview in which you ask your hero questions and fill in the answers for your hero. If your hero is someone you know, try setting up a real interview and write up how it went! A poem about your hero is another creative way of letting us and the many people who will visit our site learn about your hero.
  5. Fill in the form below if you want to submit a story.
  6. Several stories will be chosen and posted on our web site.
  7. If your story is chosen, we will send you and one other person (i.e. teacher, principal, relative) a certificate in recognition of your contribution. We can't wait to hear your stories!!

With your story, please include your:
Name:
Age:
E-mail:
State/Country:

Click Here to submit your story.

Published: February 2, 2003


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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Oren Peres-Ha'levi, March 9, 2009 5:38 AM

My hero is King David do not need to explain you why.

(5) Emma Fendrich, May 12, 2005 12:00 AM

My Hero

My mom is my hero. My mom has always been there for me, whenever I need her. The most heroic thing she did is she gave birth to me. I think it
is heroic because everytime a Jewish mother gives birth Bnei Yisrael will grow and will never stop. That is why she is my hero. I owe her everything that I will ever have.

(4) from Temple Emanuel of Baltimore, March 24, 2005 12:00 AM

STUDENTS' SUBMISSIONS

Gabrielle Weiner
My Hero

My hero is someone I know.
She is not famous, from my eyes although.
She teaches us about Jewish history,
Which sometimes can be a mystery.
She spends her time with lots of friends,
Her temple family never ends.
She spends her time with young and old,
But she does not catch a cold!
When we see her, we don't bow,
Especially when we are at the "cow."
She prays for people, who need it most,
And travels a lot from coast to coast.
We see her around a lot you know,
Last time, at a dog show.
I admire my hero as you can see,
'Cause she is part of out temple tree!
My hero if you haven't guessed,
Is Rabbi Meiri, she's the best!


Noah Israel
Oh My Perfume Bottle

I was scared, and my foot was bleeding badly. What should I have done? One day I was walking around minding my own business when, bump! Something forced the wall to make one of my mom's perfume bottles fall off her dresser. "Mommy, your perfume bottle fell off the dresser," I told her. She was too busy and responded, "That's great honey." So I tried to put the bottle back on the dresser a foot taller than me. After succeeding, I noticed the bottle was half on and half off. Hoping it would stay on the dresser when little did I know, another bump in the wall pushed the perfume bottle off the dresser. CRACK! I heard, noticing that this time the glass shattered all over the floor. Next thing I knew, there was glass stuck in my foot. Being only 3 years old, I started to cry. "Mommy, Mommy, it hurts!" I shouted. Like the speed of gravity they rushed over. "Come on sweetie, Kathy and I are going to take you to the hospital," they told me. I screamed, I never liked going to the hospital. Still yelling at the top of my lungs those two generous women took me to the hospital. The next day I was back on track and ready to finish the rest of my life, I think.

My heroine in this story was my mom. She kind of saved my life when she took me to the hospital because that piece of glass was in my foot pretty deep. Along with her I should also thank Ms. Kathy and anyone else who was there that I didn't remember. But my mom really stood out the most along with making my meals, taking me to school, allowing me to do sports, make sure I stay healthy, and everything else she does for me along with my siblings and all my friends and family. That is why my mom is my heroine.


Trevor Paladino
My Hero

My Dad is my hero, he's always there for me
From reading, homework and sports, he's the best he can be
He takes me swimming and skating too
When we study together, he helps me review
He coaches my friends as if they were his own
When he can't be home at night, we always talk on the phone
He gives me all his time, even when he needs a rest
My Dad is my hero, he truly is the best!


Nathan Lawless
Mel Blanc

M el Blank is my hero
E ver great because he was the best
L oonytoon and Hanna

B arbera voices. He played voices.
L ike Daffy Duck
A nd Secret Squirll
N o one
C an match his greatness, so they edit the actors' voices to make the voice like Blanc's and that is why he is my hero.


Megan Levy
My Hero, My Grandmother

My Grandma is my hero. This is because I know that she is always there for me. Since she lives with me, I can talk to her whenever I want. Also, she is really smart. So if I need help with my homework or if I don't understand something, I know that she will be there to help me. My Grandma is very supportive because she supports me in everything I do. For example, she supports me with my music. She is very helpful because if I get something wrong while I am practicing my harp she will come and help me with what I did wrong. I want to be like my Grandma because I want to be a nice person and help people when they need it. This is why my Grandma is my hero.


Maddie Heyman
My Interview With Ms. Howlett

Maddie: So Ms. Howlett, what is your job?
Ms. Howlett: I'm a guidance counselor.
Maddie: At what school do you work at?
Ms. Howlett: I work at Chatsworth School. It's actually a pretty nice school.
Maddie: What do you do as a guidance counselor at Chatsworth School?
Ms. Howlett: I try to cheer kids up.
Maddie: How do you try to cheer kids up?
Ms. Howlett: I let them play in my office, I sometimes even go to their classroom to talk to the whole class.
Maddie: What kind of kids come to see you?
Ms. Howlett: I get a lot of kids, and they are usually sad or mad or having a problem in school and/or at home.
Maddie: That brings me to my next question. How many kids a day come to you?
Ms. Howlett: Well, I get a lot of kids and they're all different ages and all have different feelings. Usually, kids come to me in groups so I see a lot of kids.
Maddie: Is there anything else you ever wanted to do?
Ms. Howlett: I have always wanted to work with kids, so I guess anything that has working with kids involved would be good for me.
Maddie: Thank you, Ms Howlett for answering some questions, and you seem like you are a great help to kids and probably to our teachers and adults too.
Ms. Howlett: It was a pleasure to come and answer questions for you and have a great day. Bye!
Maddie: Bye!

I would just like to tell my readers that I, Maddie Heyman, was helped by Ms. Howlett, and that's how I know she is a hero!


Nick Shenton
My Hero

My hero is my mom. She is my hero because she is very thoughtful and she loves me. Also, she takes care of me. For example, she gives me food and a really nice place to stay, which I call home. She is also very involved in sports and school. This is why my mom is my hero.

(3) Anonymous, March 2, 2004 12:00 AM

Awesome

This is very very very good!!!

(2) Anonymous, March 1, 2004 12:00 AM

thank you...!!!!! a teacher's prayers answered!

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