By Zanna Linskaia
What is a connection between Purim and an International Women’s Day? What unites all participants in the both stories? I think - it is belief in the women's power.
Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, is widely regarded as one of the greatest Jewish woman in history. Her amazing life story contains lessons that apply to all of us. Esther means “hidden” in Hebrew. She kept hidden her identity as a Jew in the palace of the Persian King. Then she had her strength and courage to save the Jewish people. “Take the lead in action” - says Talmud. Her leadership, her love to own people saved Jews, and Megillah Esther was named after her.
Probably, she was the first feminist in the history of women’s rights.
Another heroine on the women’s movement was Clara Zetkin, German socialist and activist, who was born as Clara Josephine Elssner. When she married Jewish Russian Marxist Osipp Zetkin, she had been involved in woman’s politics including the fight for women’s rights. She as against Hitler regime and went into exile to the Soviet Union where she died in 1933. Her much younger comrade of feministic movement was Rosa Luxemburg - Polish/German revolutionary socialist, Marxist philosopher and antiwar activist.
She was arrested in 1915 on the eve of organizing an international women’s antiwar conference together with Clara Zetkin. Both of them wanted to build a woman’s liberation movement and develop women’s leaders. Rosa was brutally murdered for her views, but for her followers she had a warm purely love for people and a kind of Jewish indomitable strength which comes from her grandparents.
All attempts of these prominent heroines to fight for women’s rights had been succeeded on March 8, 1911 - International Woman’s Day was officially marked for the 1st time. More than one million people celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland. Women emanded the right to vote, to fight against sex discrimination in the workplace and to hold public office. Later in 1977, March 8th was proclaimed the UN day for Women’s rights and World peace. It seems to me, that now days, feminists have more rights than duties.
So, ladies, this is our time to thrive...