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.

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

This week’s parsha, Nitzavim, begins with an expression of the universality of God’s covenant with the Israelites. It wasn’t enough to say ‘all of you’ who are standing before God, rather, we are given a list of all those assembled before Moses as he instructed them before they entered the land of Israel. In this list, we see a hierarchy of social and religious significance; we are told that among those present are tribal leaders, elders, officials, men who have households, children, wives, and ‘strangers’, the servants.

Moses continues to remind the Israelites of God’s actions during their journey out of Egypt, the commandments they have been given, and the consequences of both living by and living against the conditions of the covenant. There are warnings of curses and anger and wrath and promises of blessing and sustenance and reward. This is, at its simplest, Moses’ final attempt to give the Israelites a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong in God’s eyes, as they finally cross into the land promised to their ancestors, but without Moses’ leadership.

There is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces of language in the Torah towards the end of Moses’ instructions to the Israelites (Deut. 30 12-16):

[This instruction] is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I command you this day, to love your God, to walk in God’s ways, and to keep God’s commandments, God’s laws, and God’s rules, that you may thrive and increase, and that your God may bless you in the land that you are about to enter and possess.

As Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur near again, this week’s parsha is a reminder that when we are celebrating, showing humility and remorse, asking one another and God for forgiveness, we are equal. The opportunity to act righteously, care for ourselves and others around us, and enjoy prosperity is accessible and within the reach of every one of us, regardless of privilege and position, as is the opportunity near to us to turn from our misdeeds and transgressions towards goodness in the new year.

Shanah Tovah U’metuka
A Happy and Sweet 5783!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

Kingston, ON – September 21, 2022

For 50 years, the Otterburn House in Kingston, Ontario was the home of Queen’s Hillel. Since 2018, however, Queen’s Hillel has been without a permanent location, necessitating the use of temporary rental space on-campus.

Over the past year, Beth Israel Synagogue invested in an intensive rejuvenation project to give the Otterburn House its first major update since 1992. Today, with the invaluable support of two community visionaries, we are excited to share that our Queen’s Hillel staff, Yos and Leora Tarshish, will be making the Otterburn House both their own home, and a renewed base for Queen’s Hillel. By creating a welcoming community grounded in their own lives, Yos and Leora will serve as a model for what Jewish living in all of its dimensions can be, and leverage the successful models of Base and Moishe House.

On behalf of Hillel Ontario, Chief Executive Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren said the following:

“Hillel Ontario has been striving to ensure that Queen’s Hillel once again had a space to meaningfully engage Jewish students in Kingston. Yos and Leora Tarshish have been working tirelessly to nurture strong and resilient Jewish students, build innovative micro-communities, and empower the next generation of community advocates. With the invaluable support of community philanthropists who are committed to the Kingston community, and to the future of Jewish students at Queen’s, Hillel Ontario could not be more pleased to see Hillel once again have a permanent home in Kingston.”

On behalf of Queen’s Hillel, Director, Yos Tarshish said the following:

“Leora and I are incredibly excited to be moving into the Otterburn House, and welcoming a new generation of Jewish students into a space that holds such a special place in the history of Queen’s Hillel. The space has been lovingly restored by the hard work of the Beth Israel Otterburn Committee, led by Arnie Palmer, Michael Springer, Richard Kizell and Mark Malinoff, and it is a true testament to the vigour and tenacity of the Kingston Jewish community. Jewish student life has been steadily growing in Kingston for more than a decade, and Hillel is at the forefront of ensuring that the Jewish community on campus is both vibrant and inclusive. We are honoured to engage Jewish students on campus in Kingston, and are immensely grateful for the opportunity to bring Hillel activities back to Otterburn.”

-30-

Hillel Ontario is the largest regional Hillel in the world, serving nine universities, with a combined Jewish student population of 14,000.

For additional information, please contact:

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer
jay.solomon@hillelontario.org

X