The book of Esther, a popular tale of group loyalty in the face of hostility, is
read on Purim, the spring-time carnival feast of revelry, fancy-dress, role
reversal, charity and drinking. The purpose of this paper is to ask whether the
book would be as popular if we thought carefully about its depiction of Jewish
relations with host cultures. Should we discount this as an historical curiosity?
Or is it essential to what the book and the feast have to offer?