Purim in Israel / by Susie Lubell

Purim in Tel Aviv

My mom and I have been busy touring about the country and spending time with the kids. We survived the week of rain and snow and now we're thawing out to temperatures in the seventies. Feels good to get some vitamin D. The kids have been on vacation the last few days for Purim, our drunken version of April Fools. It's just a one day holiday celebrating the Jewish victory over the Persians circa 400 b.c.e  but I feel like it's been going on for months. It started with pajama day last Friday at school and then make-up day and then dress up like a street sign day and then wear your costume to school day and then three days off of school, only one of which is the actual holiday. We have plenty of eight day holidays, what with Hanukkah and Passover and Sukkot. How about keeping the one day holidays to one day and give all the parents a break. Between the costumes and making the kids' mishloah manot (goodie packages to swap with friends at school) and baking hamentaschen, and the parades and the carnivals, I am wiped out. Because I am the Purim Bitch. That's me in the sign. Just kidding. That's a sign for some rave in Tel Aviv where incredibly stylish people with no kids party all night. No, I was not in attendance.

I will say that I have rather enjoyed seeing everyone dressed up over these last few days. I saw a little religious boy from one sect of Orthodoxy dressed as a grown man from another sect. Pretty funny. Today, in Ein Kerem, coming out of the Church of John the Baptist, I saw a young man dressed as Jesus, cross and all. He was the spitting image. He said he'd been growing his hair for two years for this costume. People go balls out for Purim. The scouts troupe in our town built a carnival that was unbelievable including actual rides they made out of wood and rope. Two-story rides built from scratch! Only in Israel. In America you'd have to sign a waiver to let your kids ride on one of these things. But the kids had a great time and no one died.

And now I shall hang up my pirate costume until next year. Ahoy.