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  • Mitchell Israel

Purim, Pesach, and Avodah Ivrit

Shalom!

Purim and Pesach-the two spring holidays in Judaism,share some elements. Purim is a celebration of victory of good over evil, ending with the defeat of Haman. Pesach is a celebration as well, of freedom from bondage. Between Purim and Pesach, it is tradition to do “spring cleaning”, to get rid of the junk that is in your house in addition to getting rid of chametz. Coincidentally, this Sunday, Avodah Ivrit agreed to take their website down.

Avodah Ivrit--literally “Hebrew labor”--is an online job board for Jewish businesses who employ only Jews, and Jewish job seekers to post want ads. IRAC and the Mossawa Center, an Israeli-Arab organization, filed a lawsuit against Avodah Ivrit, and last October the site was ruled illegal. The website administrators appealed the decision, but upon realization that the hearing was not going in their favor, they gave in and volunteered to remove the website.

Both Purim and Pesach have themes that relate to this decision. The link to Purim is slightly more obvious, as it represents the victory of the good and righteous over the evil and hateful. One of the most obvious signs of racism is refusing to hire people of another race, and Avodah Ivrit’s purpose was just that.

The links to Pesach are not as clear. The metaphor of cleaning up used in the Pluralist works, but I’d like to entertain another idea. When Moses and Aaron went to confront Pharaoh, they knew the odds were against them. However, they continued to persist, and eventually succeeded at freeing the Israelites. When IRAC chose to stand up to Avodah Ivrit, they were also fighting an uphill battle. However, they did not back down when fighting for what they knew was right, and eventually they got Avodah Ivrit to fold.

The removal of Avodah Ivrit is an example of Israeli law being on our side. It is both immoral and illegal to discriminate in hiring, and the website’s removal shows that this discrimination will not be tolerated. The fact that this decision came between Purim and Pesach represents both the victory of good over evil and standing up for what’s right, even when it is difficult. As my time at IRAC continues, I hope to see more of both of these as we fight for equality in Israel.

Until Next Time,

Mitchell

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