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.

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.

Hillel International Student Cabinet 2021-2022

Hillel International Student Cabinet 2021-2022

Jordan Goldenberg, Ryerson University ‘23 and Leah Goldschmidt, York University ‘22, are representing Canadian Jewish students on Hillel International’s global stage. Here’s how they’re enhancing the Canadian Jewish campus experience for years to come:

This year I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate on  the Hillel International Student Cabinet, as one of two Canadian representatives. I am honoured to join the board of  22 students from the United States of America, Israel, Russia and Brazil. 

Over the years, I have been very active in Hillel at York University, and was thrilled when Hillel York’s staff approached me about the opportunity to bring my enthusiasm and passion for Hillel on an international scale. 

Hillel has always been a safe space for me — somewhere I could go to feel comfortable about my Jewish identity, but also a place where I could meet other Jews on campus; some who have become my best friends. Although I only recently joined the Student Cabinet, I can genuinely say I have met some of the most incredible students and staff who are so passionate about the Hillel movement.

I am constantly amazed by the work Hillel students are doing around the world to support and connect the next generation of our community.. We have members who have founded their own Hillels at colleges with barely any Jews, members who are advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and have launched successful international LGBTQ+ cohorts, and members who are doing tremendous work in combating antisemitism. Being around such passionate and motivating students has inspired me to go after my own aspirations within Hillel; creating space for Jews with disabilities. 

As a student with a disability, I am very passionate about expanding space for Jews with disabilities, and while Hillel has taken great strides to increase accessibility and inclusivity; there’s lots more we can do. Hillel has given me incredible resources and support to launch my own projects within this space.

I am thrilled to be representing Canada in this incredible opportunity, and am looking forward to the year ahead.

Leah Goldschmidt, Hillel York

My name is Jordan Goldenberg, and I am a third-year student at Ryerson University studying business management. I am also the President of Hillel Ryerson. The Cabinet is made up of students from around the world, working towards the common goal of engaging Jewish university and college students worldwide. The role of the Cabinet is to serve as a voice for Jewish students and a means of connection to the worldwide Hillel movement. Being part of the collective voice means everything to me, and I am excited to be that voice for Jewish students amplifying Canada and Hillel Ontario’s role on the global stage. 

At the beginning of October,  I had the opportunity to go to DC with the Hillel International Student Cabinet. It was an incredible experience to collaborate with and learn from a variety of leaders in the Jewish community and the Hillel movement. I learned so much from our two student co-chairs, fellow cabinet members and Hillel professionals. We had the chance to get to know the greater Hillel movement through meetings with staff members from various departments and positions within Hillel International; including, but not limited to, the communications teams, board members, the CEO, Adam Lehman, and many more. We spoke at great lengths about the role each of our local Hillels play on our campuses and what we can learn from one another. Since the summit, we have already hit the ground running, with many students taking on various projects at both the local and international levels. I learned so much about the global Hillel movement and how to be a better leader for Jewish students on campus and in the community.

I have always been passionate about bringing people together and there is no better way to do so than collaborating with Jewish students and Hillel’s internationally. This international collaboration allows us to share our common values while celebrating our differences in order to create the best Hillel atmosphere and programming possible.

Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson

 

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