I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but it still holds true: one of my favorite things about being in Israel for an entire year is the opportunity to celebrate the Jewish holidays, Israel style. Purim, was absolutely no different. For those that don’t know, Purim is the story of Esther, where the King of Persia married Esther, and her Uncle Mordechai refused to bow down to the Prime Minister, Haman (BOOOO!!!!!), so Haman decided to kill all of the Jews. Mordechai told Esther, and Esther told the King, and, long story short, the King decided to kill Haman instead. So, one of the biggest, and my most favorite, tradition of all is that on Purim, you are supposed to get so drunk that you cannot tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman. It is also traditional to dress up for Purim, making this Israel’s version of Haloween, and the festivities lasted for a week!
Being the Haloween of Israel, everyone dresses up. For my costume this year, I decided to be Princess Poppy from the new Trolls movie. I bought a 10 shekel tutu and a 10 shekel headband, and made my troll hair. As a rule, I don’t spend a lot of money on costumes that I will only wear once, and I just happened to have the perfect skirt to use as a dress with leggings to make my Princess Poppy outfit complete. Overall, I spent 30 shekels, or about $7.50, between the glue and embellishments for my entire costume!
The actual holiday of Purim was March 12 and 13, a Sunday and Monday. The entire week before was basically Spirit Week at my school. Everyday had a different theme that the students dressed up in. We had hat day, pajama day, and costume day. In addition to dressing up, all of the school breaks were longer than usual and had extra fun activities, like games and face painting. My favorite day was Tuesday, pajama day. Students had onesies on and were dressed as unicorns, giraffes, bumble bees, and my personal favorite, Pikachu! That day, I also had some people from Bina coming to take photographs for marketing. As break was ending, and I was going to greet them at the gate, one of the 6th graders ran up to me and asked to paint a red heart on my face. Of course, I couldn’t say no, and so I had what looked more like a red blob on my cheek for the Bina photographs, but it was still cute, and it made my student’s day!
On Thursday, as soon as school ended, I was on my way to Tel Aviv for one of the biggest party weekends in Israel. I stayed at one of the other Bina apartments in the south part of Tel Aviv. We spent Friday wandering Tel Aviv getting ready for a party we were throwing on Saturday. We stopped for alcohol and snacks and ended up stopping by the other Bina apartment in Jaffa. One of the Jaffa people shared a really cool podcast with us, and then we went to an Asian restaurant for “Shabbat” dinner. After dinner, we went to Malabia, a little shop that sells malabi, a sweet custard like dessert. It was great to spend the evening with good food and even better friends. Saturday we spent making hamantashen, pita chips, and popcorn for the party. With some leftover egg whites that we didn’t use, I ended up whipping them up with a fork and making meringues by hand! The plan for the night was to pre-game at the apartment and then to go out on the town. People started arriving around 8:30-9:00ish, and the party began. After talking and catching up with some friends and winning a game of beer pong with an awesome partner, someone tried to read the Megillah (the Purim story), but by then we were all too drunk to pay attention. From there, a group of us decided to head toward a party in Florentine. About 10 minutes into the walk, a friend and I realized that we were already way too drunk and decided to head back to the apartment. Even if the night didn’t necessarily end as planned, it was still so much fun, and my favorite Purim tradition was definitely upheld.
The next morning, the other Bina people had to be up early for class. I got up with them and ended up just going to Aroma to get a coffee and breakfast. When their class finished, I met back up with them, and we all headed to Holon for the Purim Parade. The closest thing I can compare to the Holon parade would be the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, but Israeli, which means people push their ways through other people to get to where they want to be. I separated from the group for a little bit, and I was able to push my way through some of the crowds to get some front row pictures of the different groups and floats in the parade. My favorite, of course, had to be the one of Trump tied up with a tattoo of Hillary Clinton on his shoulder.
I was able to find a few of my friends again, and as the parade ended, we started our trek back to the apartment. My friend and I got off the bus by the apartment, and got side-tracked by the playground. It was nice to reconnect with the kid in me as we climbed the jungle gym and sat on the swings for awhile. That evening, most people were still recovering from Saturdayy night, so we never made it out that night. Monday was then used relaxing and packing up my stuff before I took the train journey back to Migdal HaEmek to prepare for the week.
While I never actually made it out in Tel Aviv to any of the bars or parties, my first Purim in Israel was definitely a success. I spent the time with amazing friends, with a great costume, and it will definitely be a Purim I will never forget!