Purim

It is evident to many or most Jews that the story of Purim as recited in the Scroll of Esther is basically fictional. In the first place, there is no independent confirmation of this story from any other source. In the second place, the names Esther and Mordechai are clearly derived from the names of the Babylonian pagan deities Ishtar and Marduk. And in the third place, and most importantly, the story is inherently improbable. In the entire history of the Persian empire, stretching from its establishment in the late 6th century BCE to its overthrow by the Arabs in the early 7th century CE, there is not a single recorded instance of a widespread persecution of the Jews. Persian policy was generally favorable to the Jews, starting with the decision of Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire, to permit the Jews in the Babylonian exile to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Temple. The Zoroastrian priests of the Persian empire did have their differences with the Jews from time to time, but these differences were never so severe as to motivate a genocidal program such as is ascribed to Haman in the Scroll of Esther.
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Identity

In general I find there are two kinds of Jews in the world: Jewish professionals and professional Jews. To be sure, there are many Jews who are neither, and there are some Jews who are both. Still and all, a high percentage of Jews seem to be one or the other.
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