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Esther in America

Esther in America Media Coverage


Tal Fortgang, Modern Age

"Esther in America has the peculiar power of making religious people especially cognizant of the dual traditions, religious and national, we are blessed to perpetuate, with all attendant privileges and responsibilities."

Sara Jo Ben Zvi, Segula

"Like the book of Esther itself, this rich pageant of thought and interpretation is worth savoring well after Purim is over."

James Goodman, Jewish Review of Books

"I cannot ask for more from a Bible story or from the congregation of gifted readers and writers Halpern has brought together to shed light on its long and protean life."

Daniel L. Dreisbach, Law & Liberty

"Esther in America gives evidence of the Bible's persistent presence in the life of the nation and richly illustrates how Americans have summoned biblical narratives and themes to understand and explicate their own experiences."

Ilana Kurshan, Lilith Magazine

"An array of scholars, rabbis and educators consider the various roles that Esther — and the scroll in which she appears — have played throughout American political and cultural history."

Michael Eisenberg, The Jerusalem Post

"Esther in America has a richness of American characters that are as enthralling as the Persian characters in the Book of Esther itself." 

Josh Han­ft, Jewish Book Council

"Esther in Amer­i­ca is a splen­did col­lec­tion of essays on the com­plex his­to­ry of the Book of Esther in Amer­i­can — and par­tic­u­lar­ly Amer­i­can Jew­ish — cul­ture." 

Jonathan Kirsch, The Jewish Journal

"[Halpern] joins the other contributors in elevating Esther to the lofty stature that she plainly deserves, not as a figure on a pedestal but as a human role model."

Kate Rozansky, Plough

"The best essays in this collection are the ones that engage deeply with both the text of the Megillah and those ideas’ resonance in modern American culture."

Jennifer Caplan, The Lehrhaus

"Esther in America has appeared at the perfect moment, and is certain to inspire conversation, debate, argument, and rebuttal for years to come." 

CB Neugroschl, The Jewish Link

"Together these essays stake a claim that Esther, both the character and the full narrative, has inspired political thinkers, activists, and leaders, grappling with critical moments in the pursuit of the American project."

Larry Yudelson, The Jewish Standard

"The collected essays range from how Esther was read by colonial preacher Cotton Mather in his monumental Bible commentary, to discussions of how Esther was interpreted by two giants of 20th century American Orthodoxy, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik of Yeshiva University and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch... It’s a fascinating topic for Rabbi Halpern."

Ben Rothke, The Jewish Link

"Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik said that he would add a 14th principle of faith to the Rambam’s list if he could. And that would be that the Torah is relevant and timeless for all generations. In Esther in America, the contributors brilliantly show that the leadership and daring of Esther that occurred 2,600 years ago in Persia is just as relevant now as it was then."

Josh Leichter, The Commentator

"A great advantage of Esther in America is its variety of sections which offer a sampling of the vast scope of the history of the country. Because of this range, readers are bound to find a handful of essays that speak to them the most." 

In the Media

Book Launch With the Museum of the Bible, YU News

Esther in America contributors Dr. Erica Brown, Tevi Troy and Liel Leibovitz discussed the volume at its official launch, hosted by the Straus Center and the Museum of the Bible. 

Esther: An American Inspiration, First Things

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern highlights the role the Book of Esther has played throughout American history. 

Reading Esther in Today's America, Newsweek 

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern reflects on Esther's legacy, reminding us in these troubled times that it only takes one decent and committed person to save the day.

Queen Aster and Queen Esther, The Lehrhaus

Esther in America contributor Dr. Ariel Clark Silver explores the similarities between the story of Esther and Louisa May Alcott's Queen Aster

The Enduring Story of Esther in America, Jewish Journal

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern explores the theme of identity in the story of Esther, arguing that society can only flourish if it allows others to wear their community loyalties proudly.

No Holiday for Soft Men, Tablet 

In an excerpt from Esther in America, contributor Liel Leibovitz explains how the Book of Esther is especially relevant in America's polarized political culture. 

Queen Esther Goes to Hollywood, Moment Magazine

In an excerpt from Esther in America, contributor Yosef Lindell explores the Book of Esther's impact on film and television.

The Esther Aes­thet­ic, Jewish Book Council

In an excerpt from Esther in America, Dr. Shaina Trapedo examines themes of beauty in the Book of Esther and how they inspired American beauty pageants of the early 20th century.

Esther in the White House, The Algemeiner

In an excerpt from Esther in America, contributor Dr. Tevi Troy explores how comparisons between the story of Esther and modern-day politics became a common motif for presidential political commentators.

Esther in America on 929

Excerpts from Esther in America were featured on 929, including discussions on the Book of Esther's influence on Abraham Lincoln, King George III and Sojourner Truth.

How Queen Esther Became an American Hero, The Jewish Week

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern sat down with The Jewish Week to discuss the story of Purim and its American legacy.

The Bishop and the Rabbi, Robert Stearns

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined Bishop Robert Stearns on The Bishop and the Rabbi to discuss the story and traditions of Purim. (Starts at the 10:25 mark.) 

Esther|Live, Koren Publishers

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern and contributor Dr. Erica Brown explored themes, messages, and hidden meanings in the Megilla in this conversation in collaboration with Koren Publishers.

Reimagining Purim

Esther in America contributor Dr. Shaina Trapedo joined Tablet's Unorthodox podcast to discuss her essay in the book. (Starts at the 35:11 mark.) 

We the People (of the Book), The Koren Podcast

Esther in America contributors Rabbi Ari Lamm, Dara Horn, Tevi Troy and Shaina Trapedo joined The Koren Podcast to discuss how Tanakh has shaped America and Americans.

Esther in America on the New Books Network

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined the New Books Network's New Books in Religion podcast to discuss Esther in America

Koren's Esther in America Featured on JM in the AM, Nachum Segal Network

Esther in America editor Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined Nachum Segal on JM in the AM to discuss Esther in America.

Esther in America, The Jewish Hour

Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern joined The Jewish Hour podcast with Rabbi Finman to discuss Esther in America, the latest book from the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought.

Rereading Ahasuerus, Jewish Journal

Esther in America contributor Yisroel Ben-Porat explores how Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, invoked the Persian King Artaxerxes as a model for religious liberty.

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