Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Purim, a "Little" Late

I know. I know. Purim was a really long time ago. I was thinking about putting something together for TCJewfolk but that never came to fruition. So here are some of the thoughts and notes that I jotted down about Purim in Jerusalem

It's a two day celebration in Jerusalem. There are two dates in which people celebrate Purim, one is designated for cities with walls and the other designated for cities without walls. It was interesting to see the different people celebrating in different ways. Kids in and out of schools dressed in costume. Even people I didn't expect were walking the streets in costume. I was stopped by two men while I was walking who wanted to tell me about a Megillah Reading (the celebration and ceremony when we read and retell the story of Esther) that I could join them at.

In public spaces there were many celebrations. Fireworks going off all night and people celebrating all over the places. Even at the Shalit family tent there was a celebration and a megillah reading. The Mamilla Mall was turned into a carnival with events for kids and it reminded me of the Purim Carnivals that I usually go to at synagogues.

A large group of us went to Holon, a city near Tel Aviv, to watch their annual parade. It was a pretty typical parade, much like parades we have for the 4th of July. Many different dance studios had put together performances as well as schools and groups that had made floats. I had to laugh pretty hard and say to myself, "only in Israel" when the marching band passed us playing "Heiveinu Shalom Aleichem".

Dana, one of my classmates, worked together with a group of people on a Purim Schpeil in the setting of Avenue Q. It was pretty hilarious! Kol HaKavod to everyone that worked on it and participated!

Afterwards we made our way to a pub on Avenue Shushan for a Migillah reading. It wasn't full of just the HUC students! The place was packed with Israelis who had come to hear the story and to celebrate Purim. I'm stuck between trying to define it as a combination of a religious celebration and Halloween. Comparing it to Halloween feels like it cheapens the celebration, but at the same time it had a similar feeling, aside from just the costumes.

Since I'm writing this about six weeks late, that's about all I can remember. I had a really good time and it was a great holiday to celebrate here in Jerusalem.

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