Our Dream Hollywood Cast of Purim: The Movie

by | Mar 8, 2019 | Entertainment, Hillel Ontario, Jewish Holiday, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Purim is right around the corner, which means it’s time to pull out your costumes, bake some hamentashens and watch your favourite Purim movie.

Wait–there aren’t any movies about Purim!

There are popular and successful movies about Hanukkah and Passover, but surprisingly there are no well-known Hollywood movies about Purim. The story of Purim is filled with drama that would translate well on-screen. While we patiently wait for someone to make a blockbuster Purim film, we have put together our dream cast, including some well-known Jewish actors.

Luke Evans as Haman

Haman, the antagonist in the Purim story, is evil, selfish, cunning, and extremely power hungry. The first person that came to mind for this role is Luke Evans, who portrayed Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. Gaston is smug and arrogant, and he wanted to wreak havoc on the town and kill the Beast. Luke Evans would be a villainous Haman.

Natalie Portman as Queen Esther

Queen Esther, the heroine of Purim, is kind, wise, courageous, compassionate, and naturally beautiful. Everyone in the Hillel Ontario Office agrees that the best actor to play Esther is Natalie Portman. Portman, a famous Jewish actor, was born in Jerusalem. Did you know her Hebrew name is “Neta-Lee”? Portman has many of the same qualities as Esther and has played roles where she is a strong female lead, such as her role as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Mordechai

Mordechai is another hero in the Purim story. He is kind, honest, wise and intellectual. He is noble and modest, and overall the “good guy” in the story of Purim. Sacha Baron Cohen might not be the most obvious choice for Mordechai since he typically portrays outlandish characters. However, we think he could take on the challenge of this serious role and would bring depth to the role of Mordechai.

Did you know that Baron Cohen was raised in a Jewish family and is fluent in Hebrew?

Jon Hamm as Achashverosh

Achashverosh is stubborn and always gets what he wants as the king while also being a drunk and a partier. Jon Hamm has played a number of roles where he is in power positions, such as the character Don Draper in Mad Men. Don Draper is smart, confident, intriguing while also being a bit of a drunk. Based on the similarities between Don Draper and Achashverosh we believe Jon Hamm would nail the role.

Gal Gadot as Queen Vashti

Queen Vashti is beautiful, strong willed, bold, empowered and stands up for herself. Our favourite Israeli actress, Gal Gadot, is hands down the best person for this role. Born in Petah Tikva, Israel, Gadot was raised in a Jewish home and served two years in the IDF as a combat instructor. She not only represents a strong woman in real life, she was also outstanding as the lead actor in the movie Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is fierce, brave and stands up for what is right and what she believes in, which is why we think Gadot would be a great Queen Vashti.

What do you think of our cast? Who is your dream Purim cast? Any suggestions for a director? We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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