This year Israel celebrated Purim on Sunday throughout the country, except in Jerusalem, where we celebrated it on Monday. On the Friday morning leading up to the holiday, I was pleasantly aroused from my sleep by festive, loud music outside my window. I raised my trisim (blinds) and discovered a Purim parade comprised of hundreds of children in costume, accompanied by their parents and followed by a car with loud speakers. The parade was escorted by policemen who closed off the streets to traffic as the children marched through the neighborhood. Below is a glimpse of the parade. The picture was taken from my bed as I rubbed the sleep from eyes!
The Friday morning parade kicked off several days of celebration and festivities. I celebrated Tel Aviv Purim on Saturday night and then Jerusalem Purim on Sunday night and Monday. One of the highlights was celebrating the holiday with my sister. We were both dressed up as characters from the 70's. She, a 70's film producer (with all the attendant attitude) and I, well, I'm not sure what or who I was meant to be. We took Jerusalem by storm, hearing megilla together, dancing at a Chaim Dovid concert, creating a spectacle with our costumes at a friend's party, and celebrating with over 10,000 fellow Jerusalemites in the shuk (open-air market), Mahcane Yehuda from 12-2am!!
My Mother shared some reflections with me on the megilla and Ester's pivotal role in saving the Jewish people. She noted the importance of strong women who take action to affect change. Throughout Jewish history, the Jewish people have repeatedly found themselves in desperate, threatening situations, similar to that faced by the Jews of Persia during the time of the Megilla. While at first she was reluctant, Ester came into her own and realized her responsibility to the Jewish people when Mordechai reminded her: "Who knows if it was for this sole purpose that you became queen?" Ester was inspired and transformed by Mordechai's words and felt compelled to act, saving the Jewish people. On that inspiring note, my Mother reminded me (and the women who sat at her Purim seuda in Los Angeles) of the role we play and the potential we have as strong women to continue to affect change for the Jewish people today. I can think of no better role model to impart this very lesson than my own Mother, who is a sterling and singular example of a strong woman, dedicated to her convictions, who exudes integrity and grace in all she does.
Although we have barely recuperated from Purim, we are already beginning preparations for Pesach (Passover). We anxiously await our parents' arrival and the celebration of the Jews' redemption from Egypt...