The Purim-like daring and courage of those who visit Israel now


Surely I can’t be the first to note the close spelling of “Hamas” and the villainous “Haman,” who is so evil that we use rattles to drown out his very name.

But the resemblances stop right there, because we merely mock the bad guy in the Purim tale.  I mean, 3 year olds like to dress up as the monster who has a plan to destroy the Jews.  And a pretty girl rescues her grown-up cousin, Mordecai, by winning a beauty contest simply by coming out of hiding and announcing her identity with nervous, heroic pride.

This year, we must take Purim much more seriously and literally.  It is a plural word, like “dice,” that invites both daring and courage.

My late, beloved elder brother had one grandchild, Julia, who has dual citizenship, Israeli and American.  She dwells in Tel Aviv, and a faithful friend of our family, on a useful journey to our Holy Land, made it a major point to visit our Julia.

So, with my deep gratitude to Suzy Sikov, and my total admiration for our brilliant and bold community hero, Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin, I dedicate this unusual Purim piece to those among us who nobly go there, in this season of authentic anxiety.

MIKE FINK ( is a professor emeritus at the Rhode Island School of Design.