It’s here, at last, Purim, the festival of festivals. And it arrives, as it often does, with a final bout of winter weather — enough rain, hail, thunder and lightning to cast a shadow on the festivities, or at least dampen some costumes.

Nevertheless, with costumes, hamantaschen and mishloach manot at the ready, it’s time to celebrate Purim 2014. And we’ve got a variety of options.

1) It’s always worth checking out Tel Aviv’s Purim party, one of the city’s many street parties, held this year on the swank circle of Kikar Hamedina. This gala costume celebration under the sky will include DJs, street ensembles, and an urban street fair.

It was supposed to take place this Friday, but will be held instead next Friday, March 21, instead, given the expected inclement weather. Ditto for Rishon Lezion’s citywide Purim party, which was supposed to be held this Friday as well, and hasn’t been rescheduled yet.

Partying at Tel Aviv's annual Purim street party (Courtesy City of Tel Aviv)

Partying at Tel Aviv’s annual Purim street party (Courtesy City of Tel Aviv)

2) In Jerusalem, the merchants and restaurant owners of downtown’s Shlomzion Hamalka Street are hosting their own Purim party on Shushan Purim, Monday, March 17, between 5 pm and 9 pm. Besides the food stands, storytellers and street theater performers, several restaurants will be offering NIS 15 treats, including kebabs at Noya, macaroons at Canela and Hungarian langos (a kind of pizza) at Cafe Kadosh.

Shani Segev will make you laugh, this Friday (Courtesy Shani Segav Menashri)

Shani Segev will make you laugh, this Friday (Courtesy Shani Segav Menashri)

3) Wanna laugh? Female comic Shani Segev Menashri presents her one-woman show, “Laughter is a Serious Matter,” at Tel Aviv’s Hasimta Theater, Friday, March 14, 9:30 pm. Call 03-681-2126 for tickets, or purchase them at the theater box office.

4) How about some fun ideas for those celebrating Purim close to home with the young’uns. They’re developed by Devorah Katz, an informal Jewish educator who is also the founder of ChallahCrumbs, a website that shares recipes, Jewish crafts and activities. Katz, a mother of five, recommended building up to Purim each night at dinner by placing a mask or noisemaker next to each person’s plate, familiarizing small children with the symbols of the holiday. “It’s a no-fail tool,” she said.

There’s also the noisemaker activity, but one with a dual purpose of feeding kids who get bored during the long megillah reading. She suggested taking a baby jar, or a small, plastic bottle, and filling it with either noisy candy (Mike and Ikes or jelly beans) or a healthier option of trail mix with plenty of nuts and seeds for making noise. Cheerios could work as well, said Katz. And finally, while Katz and her husband host their own megillah reading at home, making it as family-friendly as can be, if you are heading out to a megillah reading with the kids, she recommended packing a bag with as many distractions as you can find and “lower your expectations” to avoid disappointment if you only make it to Chapter 2 of the Purim reading.

A dual purpose gragger for the younger set (Courtesy ChallahCrumbs)

A dual purpose gragger for the younger set (Courtesy ChallahCrumbs)

Katz is about to finish a crowdsourcing Kickstarter campaign for her Parsha Coloring Pages, weekly Torah portion coloring pages that focus on reintroducing biblical women figures into the picture. The campaign comes to a close on Friday, and she has raised nearly $2,000 over her $5,000 goal.

Lime jello shots also work well, as does lemon (CCA BY 2.0/Wiki Commons)

Lime jello shots also work well, as does lemon (CCA BY 2.0/Wiki Commons)

5) If you’d rather stay home, bring the party to your house with these Lychee Martini Jello Shots courtesy of Jellyshottestkitchen, cubes of pale yellow that slide down the throat very easily.

  • ½ cup white cranberry juice cocktail (white grape juice can be substituted)
  • 1 cup lychee juice (from a can of lychees)
  • 2½ envelopes plain gelatin (1/2 envelope equals about 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder) [*Editor’s note: Agar-agar can be substituted in equal amounts for gelatin]
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ½ cup peach schnapps (or Cointreau for a less sweet jelly shot)
  • 6 chopped lychees, for garnish, if desired
  1. Pour juices into a saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two.
  2. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is fully dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the vodka and schnapps.
  4. Pour into a standard loaf pan. Refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, cut into desired shapes. Garnish each jelly shot with a few pieces of chopped lychee, if desired.