|Clay Animal Project|
I have to admit, I'm not sure why but Purim, despite all of the exciting activities surrounding it, has never been my favorite holiday. There were of course some lovely aspects to it. Growing up, I adored being in the Purim Play with the choir every year and like every little girl dreamed of the day I would get to play the coveted role of Queen Ester, which I finally did in our rendition of "Rockin Shushan" where Ester's Achashverosh was Elvis and Vashti sang "It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To." The narrators were "Rockettes" and we all wore poodle skirts with records glued to them. For my part, I got to sing "Downtown" but instead of those words, we sang "Shushan." It was always loads of fun.
I also used to LOVE watching my Dad dress up in a crazy costume and recite an-ever hilarious rendition of the Megillah. He would get up there with the Cantor and the other Rabbi and they would put on quite a show. I'm always proud of my father, but during those readings I was always especially grinning from ear to ear. And then there was the carnival, the day every child at temple looked forward to- full of fun booths and games and candy and costumes. When I got older I ended up running the booths, usually opting to do the face painting.
|My Little Snail Guy|
|A clown I drew for the carnival|
But here, the buzz of the celebration permeates on every street corner. For weeks, shops have been brimming with bedazzled costumes, and parties-a-plenty have been planned. All week long people have been going around town conducting their business from beneath a pirate's hat or a spiderman mask or in a tutu. My cousin's 8-year-old daughter baked her own cookies and wrote sweet notes to everyone in the family as misholoach manot, and talk of what costume each person will be has been spinning through the air. As I write this entry there is a colorful costume parade marching down the street outside my cafe window. There are drums, tons of kids in costume, streamers, music, banners, and a general feeling of celebration. And Purim is still two days away. The popular kid costumes these year seem to be mice, bear cubs, IDF soldiers, as always ninjas for the boys, and princesses for the girls. Some people got very creative too-- there's a huge papier-mache dragon floating on huge stilts, a clown car zigzagging its way through the crowd, and all sorts of kites and batons.
|One of the most popular Purim costumes this season|
Tuesday night: hamentaschen making party (I'm in charge of bringing the nutella)
Wednesday night: huge block party in Tel Aviv
Thursday day: there is only a half-day at work, so we're going to probably walk around the city in costume and go in and out of different street festivals and parties
Thursday night: myriad parties all over Jerusalem, one being a 90's theme, another a disco in the shuk, another a trans festival that is only announced an hour before and will most likely be in the north or south of the country...
Friday morning: pancakes and megillah reading
|One more cute picture of the finished project|
And at the moadoniyot we're also having a lot of fun. Today I'm joining the kids at one to deliver mishloach manot to the community, and in another I spent last night drawing and painting huge decorations (scroll down to see one of them, Simba from the Lion King, below) for a carnival that is happening all this week. At schools, each day of the week has been a different costume party: inside-out day, polka-dot day, pajama day, and of course the costumes, and it is no different at the moadoniyot. We've also been planning all sorts of fun crafty activities, including mask making, clay animals (the ones I made as examples are displayed here), and all sorts of fun Purim challenges.
It's very refreshing to be in a place where my culture, my people, my history is all around me at all times. Sure, the intensity of the place and the dichotomy between secular and religious communities can be at times a bit daunting, but all in all, this wonderful experience of hamentaschen in every window, costumes at every small shop, and posters advertising parties plastered all over the city has an exhilarating effect. For once in my life, MY culture is spilling through the seams of society, and it feels pretty good!
|Pre-painting Simba that I drew for the moadonit Purim carnival|
|Simba completed! It was so much fun to paint again, I think I went a little overboard...|
Happy Purim to all!