Love it or dread it, Purim is finally here, and there’s nearly a week of parties, events, parades and activities to celebrate the age-old story of Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai, bad guy Haman and King Ahasuerus.
We’ve compiled a list, by region of course, as well as some other ideas for celebrating — or commiserating — this one-day holiday that has become a season of events.
1) Starting in the country’s center, there’s Adloyada Holon, one of Israel’s biggest Purim parades, with floats, favorite characters and a carnival that is taking place for the 23rd year in this town south of Tel Aviv. It’s an all-day event, taking place Thursday, March 5, from 12 p.m.
2) It could be worth heading south, where the festivities may be slightly quieter and less crowded. Beersheba is hosting a Purim festival in its gentrifying Old City, with street performances along its narrow streets, as well as arts and crafts for the kids and a costume contest. Thursday, March 5, from 9:30 a.m.
Ashkelon is also hosting an Adloyada parade, with characters from the Hop! kids channel, and the country’s largest mishloach manot basket, assembled by the children of Ashkelon for soldiers stationed nearby. Thursday, March 5, from 12 p.m.
3) Tel Aviv deserves its own entry for the sheer number of events being hosted by the city that loves to party. Some of the parties start Wednesday night, and by Thursday, there’s a long list of options, including a nineties Purim party at the Ozen Bar, 48 King George Street, 10 p.m; a circus party at the Pasaz Club with Burlesque performances, 94 Allenby, 11 p.m; and two nights of performances from punk rocker Rami Fortis at Tel Aviv’s Barby Club on March 5 and March 6, tickets can be purchased at the Barby website.
On Thursday, take the kids to see “Kamuyot” (Amounts), a kids-centric, 50-minute dance performance by the Batsheva Dance Company. Thursday, March 5, 11 and 12:30 p.m, NIS 70-80 per ticket, Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater, Neve Tzedek.
The Tel Aviv Port is hosting a carnival suitable for the whole family on Thursday, with trapeze artists, tightrope walking, bungee jumping, dance performances and mask-making. Thursday, March 5, 11-5.
Throughout the Wednesday-Saturday Purim vacation, the Bialik House is hosting a series of events geared for the whole family, including tours, another mask-making workshop and live performances. Bialik House, 22 Bialik Street, Tel Aviv.
There’s the annual Tel Aviv Purim Zombie Walk, which features zombies walking through the city’s streets on Saturday night, March 7, from 9 p.m, at the corner of Ben-Zion Boulevard and King George (near Dizengoff Center).
4) And if you want to keep on partying, join Jerusalemites, whose Purim celebrations take place on Thursday night and Friday, thanks to its designation as a walled city. On Thursday night, a series of four mega parties will rock the ancient city, at four different locations: Valley of the Cross (Emek Hamatzleva), the Bolinat Cafe (6 Dorot Rishonim Street), City Cellar (34 Ben Yehuda Street), and the Even Israel courtyard (between the arches of 12 Agrippas Street and 84 Jaffa Road). Thursday, March 5, from 9 pm.
There’s also an all-night rave over at the Tower of David Museum in the Old City, with ten hours of music and dancing on Thursday, March 5, from 10 p.m.
The city’s main Purim event will happen in Safra Square, with carnival activities and performances for the whole family. Friday, March 6, from 1 pm.
Head to the Israel Museum, which is offering free entry to children, although some of the activities include a fee, such as the performance of “The Orange Slipper” at 11 a.m., which costs NIS 20 per child, NIS 10 per adult, and the mask workshop from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., based on “Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World,” an exhibit that’s about to close. Visitors can also head to the Jewish Art and Life Wing, to view Purim noisemakers, dolls and scrolls from around the world.
Want to be really creative? Create a scavenger hunt in the Jewish Art wing, testing kids to find the appropriate ritual objects for the holiday.
5) Need a drink? We’ve got one for you, to sip and enjoy once you’re home, away from the madding crowds. It features fennel and kumquats, two ingredients that are readily available at this time of year. Thanks to the Serious Eats blog, which wrote up the cocktail created by Sean McClure of Craft Restaurant in New York City. It’s originally nonalcoholic, but a splash of gin or vodka will make it a very appealing Purim beverage.
- 3 kumquats, cut in half
- 3 heaping tablespoons chopped fennel
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- 1½ ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
- Tonic water
- Garnish: 1 kumquat, sliced in rounds, on a toothpick
- Shot of gin or vodka (optional)
- Combine and muddle the 3 kumquats, the chopped fennel, lemon juice and agave nectar in a shaker.
- Add orange juice, ice and optional gin or vodka. Pour the entire contents of the shaker into a large old-fashioned glass, top with the tonic water and garnish.