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Letters from Chanukahs and Purims Past: The Establishment of “Minor” Holidays and Judea-Diaspora Relations

Hosted By: Valley Beit Midrash

In the Hellenistic era, Judean leaders in Jerusalem sent letters to Jews living in Egypt imploring them to observe the holidays of Hanukkah and Purim. Why were these holidays important to these leaders, and why were they so focused on the practices of their Jewish kin in Egypt? This lecture will explore the complex dynamics of Judea-diaspora relations in the ancient world, and how the observance of holidays was used as an opportunity for Judeans to enforce the idea of Judean exceptionalism.

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