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.

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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