Purim is already over in most of the country as I write, and is just getting started in the walled city of Jerusalem, where custom requires celebrating it one day later, on Shushan Purim.
But given that Purim is a one-day holiday that stretches to at least three — not including the requisite wearing-of pajamas to school the week before Purim — what with an official three-day school holiday and this year, a mid-week date that allowed it to become a long weekend, it’s only normal that it becomes a countrywide celebration that includes everyone.
From Tel Aviv’s annual Zombie Walk to Holon’s Adloyada parade and Haifa’s Tzovhotz street party, each city and town has its method of putting out all the stops for the holiday. It’s the kind of celebration that can include everyone, religious and secular, young and old, singles and families.
Here’s a top five list of great Purim images from this week, ones that speak of creativity, social justice and simple happiness.
1. This photo has been shared around Facebook, and appears to have been taken in a religious neighborhood, where the girl is dressed up as a religious woman, and is entering ‘the bus’ from the ‘women’s’ door, a fairly accurately replica of a segregated ‘Mehadrin’ Egged bus, with men up front and women in back, down to the Egged logos and route.
2. In Tel Aviv, even the rental bicycles are bedecked for the holiday. The city’s bicycle rental system, Tel-O-Fun, the English translation of Tel-Ofen, which means bike Tel Aviv (ofenayim is a bicycle in Hebrew), offers racks of green bicycles for rent around the city, and during Purim, they stuck a clown card on each one that says “Purim in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”
3. There was a particular emphasis this Purim on the issues pertaining to religious and secular Jews, particularly following the events in Beit Shemesh last fall, when Jews came to blows over the segregation of the sexes. For some, Purim offered an opportunity to mend the wounds of recent months.
The mostly secular people behind ‘Marbin b’Ahava’, a play on the Purim adage, ‘marbin b’simcha,’ which means one must heighten their joy on Purim, rode through the streets of Beit Shemesh on a balloon-festooned, donkey-driven cart, handing out mishloah manotpackages to ultra-Orthodox Beit Shemesh residents.
4. Not everyone is feeling hopeful about the state of affairs between religious and secular Jews in Israel, particularly with regard to the perception of women as second-class citizens. Here’s one woman’s mask in protest of female facelessness:
5. Like most people, the ultra Orthodox take Purim seriously, from the meals they serve to the partying in which they partake. But the adults don’t dress up, according to Noam Ben Yosaef, an Israel Museum curator in Jewish art and culture, only the kids dress up, and their costumes often offer a serious note. “They may have a quote from the Bible, and they tend to dress up like their role models who may be their mothers, the Zaka emergency services members or a piece of shmura matza,” said Ben Yosaef.
Here, a group of little ones show off their costumes, which appear to include a fish monger, a boy in a streimel, an emergency services caregiver and a king.