It may have been Oscar night in LA, but the real action was down the block at the Creative Zionist Coalition's Purim Gala at the Shangri-La Hotel. I received the "Queen Esther Award for Jewish Heroism." And it wasn't lost on me that so much of what the story of Purim teaches us is a part of the work I do, fighting for the good. Purim memorializes the clash of civilizations: good vs. evil, Mordechai vs. Haman, and all of the terrible, bloody struggles in history, up to and including allies versus the Nazis, the West versus jihad. And Purim speaks to the centrality that women play in Jewish life and Jewish history, so it was deeply moving for me.
As you know, the event was underwritten and paid for by the Shangri-La Hotel -- the same hotel where the Muslim owner threw the Jews out of the pool at a Friends of the IDF event. So this made the gala even more miraculous. A Muslim trying to recompense the Jews for her Jew-hatred. A miracle, indeed.
My partner, Robert Spencer, deservedly received the "Righteous Gentile" of the year award. How wonderful it was to share the night with my colleague.
Orit Arfa wrote: Creative Zionist Coalition Celebrated Modern Day Heroes at Hotel Shangri La on February 24, 2013
"And the Jews enjoyed light and gladness, joy and honor."
Yes, that was the feeling at Hotel Shangri La as it literally rolled out the red carpet for the Creative Zionist Coalition and its esteemed honorees: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Steve Goldberg. They were the real winners on Oscar night. They don't just play heroes onscreen. They ARE heroes, fighting the forces of evil (Islamic supremacism) and defending the good (individual freedom, Israel and the US).
About 100 people came on Oscar night to celebrate Zionist and Jewish identity. It was a true reversal of fortune, in true Purim fashion. At a hotel where Jews were once spurned, they were celebrated on the hotel's dime. As Jew-hatred is on the rise in the world, this Purim party demonstrates that when Jews stand up for their interests, they can turn Jew-hatred on its head!
Below are pictures from the event and video coverage, including the acceptance speeches of our honorees (Mahmoud Abbas, the "Haman" awardee, included), a performance by Madonna, and the results of our Keter Awards for Israeli Advocacy.
To read more about the party, check out these articles (with a few more to come):
Zionists to Honor Anti-Islam Activists at Hotel Shangri La, by Jonah Lowenfeld, Jewish Journal
Celebrating on Haman's Tab, Meir Doron, Israeli Life USA (Hebrew)
Even Madonna Showed-up...Kind Of, LiAna Baruch, Israeli Life USA (Hebrew)
Everyone in costume - lots of good people, dancing, drinking and enjoying life. La'Chaim!
Much thanks to Mike Grambush for the photos