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Israel: A Joyous Celebration of Purim

The holiday of Purim celebrates the triumph of the Jewish people over those who seek and sought their destruction. Purim is a joyful holiday celebrated with costumes, festivities, good food, and much drinking.

Purim Gift Baskets (Image)
Photo sourced from Wikipedia.

Having Fun at Purim–

Hannah of Israelity writes:

I grew up loving Purim. It’s probably my favorite holiday. Not only do I get to dress up, eat thousands of cookies, shout and yell in synagogue, but it is kind of required to drink oneself silly (really, it is written that on Purim one should get so drunk you can’t tell the difference between Haman (the bad guy) and Mordachi (the good guy)…

Living in Jerusalem, I’m going to see people dancing in the streets, songs will be sung everywhere and groggers [noise makers] will be handed out at every corner.

If you live in Israel and are still looking for a party, Israelity has a city-by-city list of activities.

Sending Purim Gift Baskets–

One holiday tradition is to send friends and families baskets of gifts and cookies called mishloach manot. Months before the holiday, preparations begin for the festivities. This year in particular, a nationwide effort was made to honor the brave people of Sderot, who are at the battle lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Josh of Blogs of Zion recounts a heartwarming tale of Purim generosity.

This morning on Israeli radio, I heard an interview with a number of residents of Sderot and the surrounding areas, who are under an almost daily bombardment. One person interviewed was kindergarten teacher Daphna Solomon, who described how the city has been inundated with Mishloach Manot. Packages have been arriving from all over the country and from around the world. Her genuine happiness at this was heartwarming. She explained that each of her kindergarteners is going home with two or three packages. As a class, they open each package, look on a map of Israel to see where it is from, and then write a thank you letter. Daphna said that it was like getting a big hug from the entire country.

Afterward, the mayor was interviewed. He said, “This nation is the best nation in the world. There is no house that has not received twice or three times.”

Let’s hope that on this Purim we can all find a way to spread as much joy. Happy Purim.

The ever-conscious Green Prophet blog encourages us to think ecologically this Purim, with Jack Reichert offering the following suggestions:

– Think reusable with the Mishloach Manot. Baskets look nice, but they usually go straight to the garbage.
– Save those bottles, some places even give you money for them… (usually supermarkets)
– Do you need to buy a costume? Be creative, see what you can find around the house.
– Think eco when filling those baskets!

Ra'anana Ramblings, a self-professed “busy mom” has a different perspective on mishloach manot, wondering why they can't be healthier. (If you've ever experienced an American Halloween, you may have asked yourself the same question.)

And the junk food frenzy – otherwise known as the Purim holiday – has begun. The kids and the husband all came home from school/work bearing mishloach manot. Aside from the odd bag of raisins, it was all JUNK, giving new meaning to the words ad nauseum. Chocolates, chips, oznei haman, etc. I've already overindulged and we're still at the beginning of our haul- Friday is the big day for exchanging goodie baskets and it won't be easy keeping everyone from pigging out during Shabbat.

I would love to get a mishloach manot like this one… Instead of the usual bisli, bamba, wafers, etc., why not deliver the classic Israeli breakfast? [How about] salad, the eggs (hardboiled, not my first choice, but I guess an omelette wouldn't survive the trip all that well), bread, jam, small packages of tea and coffee.

Purim Costumes: Dress Up Can Be Fun for Everyone (Even the Mildly Resistant)–

Advice from another mother could come in handy with the little ones this holiday. Mia the Ima has some great suggestions for children who don't like getting dressed in costumes.

I have found that the kids who don't like to dress up are more willing to dress up in something that actual people may wear, as opposed to an animal, or something that has to do with their everyday. It seems to be less traumatizing to wear clothes the child is used to wearing but put them together differently. That way you don't have to buy stuff the child will never wear.

Another idea is to have them hold as part of their costume something that will comfort and security… Here are some ideas:
– Dress up like a favorite toy.
– Dress up as a favorite person (dress up like mom or dad)
– Dress up like the profession of someone the child likes. (like uncle Jonathan the basketball player)
– Have a favorite toy as an accessory.
– Dress up together with a friend (get together to dress up or wear matching costumes). This doesn't really work with siblings only with friends.
– Wear regular clothes put together differently.
– Just add fun accessories.

Baking Holiday Treats–

For more news from the home front, Chanit of My Mother's Recipes and More features a No-Bake Date Pistachio Cheesecake for Purim. Check out her website for recipes and photos of this delicious treat.

Enjoying Jewish Humor–

And let's not forget YouTube, a great source for Jewish humor.

The prolific Jacob Richman, author of the Good News from Israel blog presents us with a list of 56 Purim videos accessible via YouTube.

A standout amongst the group is Hypersemitic's “Haman Song: A Purim Rap” by Jewish educator cum lyricist, Matt Bar, creator of The Bible Raps Project.

Nations Destroyed (Image)
Photo by Sarah Schlesinger

Supporting Israel Virtually: Join the Worldwide Rally–

If you're reading this on Purim, click on Together4Israel to join the worldwide virtual rally to support Israel hosted tonight in Sderot featuring Jewish communities around the world– an impressive technological endeavor. (Videos will likely be available after the real time showing.)

Wishing a Hag Purim Sameach (happy Purim holiday) to all!

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