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Jewish Heroes

May 9, 2009 | by

The Story of Purim provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about heroes and heroines.

The following three workshops are geared for children ages six to 14. We recommend that parents take part in the workshop with their children.

  1. My Hero: a workshop geared for children ages six to 14 and parents that explores what it means to be a hero.


  2. A Purim Heroine: Esther, a model of Jewish heroism.


  3. My Jewish Hero: Submit your personal experience about meeting a Jewish hero.


My Hero

We may never be called upon to do anything heroic, but who we admire suggests the kind of people we want to become.

1. List 3 people you would call your hero.

  1. ____________________________

  2. ____________________________

  3. ____________________________



2. Why do you call each of these people your heroes? List some of their good character traits.


  1. ___________________________________ _____________________________________
  2. ___________________________________ _____________________________________
  3. ___________________________________ _____________________________________


3. Fill in the name of your heroes at the top of each column and check off the traits that each hero has:

Are your heroes: Hero #1
Hero #2
Hero #3

4. In which way would you want to be like your heroes?



5. Is there any way you would not want to be like your heroes?

6. Who would you call a Jewish hero? What did that person do that was heroic?

7. Did your Jewish hero do something for the Jewish people? Or is he or she a hero that just happens to be Jewish?

8. Have you ever met a real hero?


Esther, the Queen of Persia, could have kept her Jewish identity secret. But when her people were threatened, she risked her life to save her people.

The Story of Esther is a story of one woman who changed the course of history. It's a story that sounds like it could be a Disney fairy tale, but it's actually a story found in the Bible; it is read every year on the holiday of Purim.

Esther was a regular person who ended up being chosen as the Queen of Persia in the city of Shushan. She did not tell anyone that she was Jewish. Only her cousin Mordechai knew her secret.

Soon after Esther was chosen to be the queen, King Achashverosh appointed Haman as his second in command in his kingdom. Everyday Haman noticed Mordechai standing outside of the palace. While everyone bowed down to Haman as he passed, Mordechai, for religious reasons, refused to bow down to a person; he would only bow to God.


Haman was so furious that Mordechai would not bow to him that he chose lots to see which day would be a good day to kill Mordechai and his Jewish people. He chose the 13th day of the Jewish month of Adar.

Now Esther heard the news and could have sat by waiting to see what would happen. She had a good life. She was safe in the palace. But she knew that her people weren't going to be saved unless she went to the king and tried to stop the terrible thing from happening.

There was one catch. She could only go to the king if she was invited to see him. If anyone, including the queen, went to the king without an invitation, that person could risk being killed on the spot. No invitation came.

Finally, Mordechai told Esther that the time had come for her to help her people. God had made sure that Esther had been chosen as the queen, so that she could help her people when the time was right. The time had come and Esther was ready to stand up for what she believed in.

With tremendous faith in God and her mission, Esther approached the king's chambers, knowing that her life was at risk. She glanced up to see if the king would motion her to enter. If he did, it meant that the king was willing to meet with her. If he didn't, she would receive her punishment.


The king slowly motioned for her to come in. He told Esther that he would grant her any wish she desired. Esther took a deep breath. She humbly requested that the king come to a party along with Haman the following day. The king accepted the invitation.

At the party, Esther invited the king and Haman to another party which was planned for the next day. At the second party, while the king and Haman were sitting together, she told the king about the plot to kill her people and to kill her, since she too was Jewish. The king was shocked, "Who is this person who is trying to do this terrible thing?" he demanded. Esther pointed to Haman and said "This man is the one who wants to kill me and my people."

The king hung Haman that very day on the gallows that Haman had built to kill Mordechai. And then the king appointed Mordechai to be his second in command instead of Haman. The king gave Mordechai his royal seal.

With the permission of the king, Mordechai and Esther sent out letters to all the Jews telling them to prepare to protect themselves on the day that Haman had planned to kill them. The Jews defended themselves on the 13th day of Adar and on the following day, the 14th of Adar they celebrated their victory. That's why we celebrate the holiday of Purim every year on the 14th of Adar.

Can you imagine, around 2,000 years ago, one woman, willing to stand up for what she believed in, stopped the Jews from being destroyed. Esther risked her life to save her people. One person can make the difference.

Discussion Questions:


  1. Do you think Esther did the right thing by risking her life for the Jewish people? Would you have had the guts to do what Esther did?
  2. Was there a time when you stood up for what is right, even though you may have suffered for it?
  3. Think of two people/things/concepts that are very important to you. Would you be willing to stand up to defend them if the situation arose?



MY Jewish HERO

There are Jewish heroes out there. Do you know who they are? Can you tell us about them?

The Story of Esther tells us about a Jewish Heroine from a long time ago. We're looking for your stories of Jewish Heroes from today.

Stories will be selected and posted on our site. The author of any story that is chosen will receive a special e-mail certificate in recognition of his or her contribution and can also request that another certificate be sent to another address (i.e. teacher, principal, relative). We are looking forward to hearing from you!



  1. Your "heroes" can be everyday, ordinary people who did extra-ordinary things.
  2. Your "heroes" don't have to fit into anyone's idea of what is a hero.
  3. They can be famous or known only by you!
  4. Be creative. You can write a story about your hero. You can write a mock interview in which you ask your hero questions and fill in the answers for your hero. If your hero is someone you know, try setting up a real interview and write up how it went! A poem about your hero is another creative way of letting us and the many people who will visit our site learn about your hero.
  5. Fill in the form below if you want to submit a story.
  6. Several stories will be chosen and posted on our web site.
  7. If your story is chosen, we will send you and one other person (i.e. teacher, principal, relative) a certificate in recognition of your contribution. We can't wait to hear your stories!!


With your story, please include your:

Click Here to submit your story.


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