Happy Purim!

Tonight is Purim. Happy Purim from UJGS!

What is Purim? It is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the story told in the Book of Esther.

In Shushan, Persia, Esther was raised by her cousin, Mordechai. King Ahasuerus, after dismissing his wife, went looking for a new wife, choosing Esther, without realizing she was Jewish.

The villain of the story is Haman, the king’s advisor, who plotted to kill all of the Jewish people when Mordechai refused to bow down to him.

Esther fasted for three days then approached the king, finally telling him that she was Jewish, and asked him to save the lives of her people. She prevailed and Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared by him for Mordechai.

Purim is celebrated on the 14th of Adar, except in Jerusalem and other cities that were walled during the time of Joshua, where it is celebrated on the 15th. In a leap year, it occurs during Adar II, the leap month.

Purim is a festive holiday which includes dressing up in costumes, eating Hamentashen, and listening to a reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther).

More details about the holiday can be found at Judaism 101.

JDC Archives Web Site Launch

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC, also called “The Joint”) has announced the launch of the JDC Archives web site at http://archives.jdc.org/. It is the culmination of a five year digitization project. The digital collection contains searchable text from collections from 1914-1932, a names index of over 500,000 names, a detailed interactive timeline, historically-themed exhibitions, over 45,000 photographs, and more.

Some highlights of the site include a Family Researcher section, the Names Database, and Inventory of what is currently searchable, and Video Tutorials.

The New York Times has an article about the launch of the web site, along with a Slideshow with eight archival images.

The official press release is available from the JDC web site.

The JDC was founded in 1914 as a distribution channel for funds from American Jews to Palestine. It is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, working in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Does the JDC have a piece of your family’s history? Visit their site today to find out.

Call to Meeting – March 2012

UJGS is having its first meeting of 2012 on Tuesday, March 13 20th, from 7-9:00pm at the Family History Library.

More location details, including the address and where to park (the museum lot is free in the evenings), are available on our Meetings page.

We’ve been trying to make some changes to the society, so things are still in flux for this meeting. We should get it all figured out in the next week.

Edit: It has been brought to our attention that the Utah Democratic Caucuses are on March 13th, so we have moved the meeting date to one week later.

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