Sunday, March 16, 2003

So the girls went off to school today in their Purim finery (the next three days are holidays so the kids celebrate at school today, although Purim day actually falls on Tuesday). Youngest as a pink fairy and Eldest as a black and green witch (coupled up with best friend who was a black and purple witch). Nothing that allowed me much creativity this year, but they were happy, sort of. As grown ups we look at all the kids in their shiny colorful costumes and think what fun they’re having, but there is a lot of tension in it, competitiveness, bashfulness. They usually don't enjoy actually being dressed up as much as the planning and anticipating. At least the weather kept fine. When it rains it’s very inconvenient because the costumes don’t usually allow for sweaters, coats and umbrellas.

The jokes are all about which masks we’ll be wearing this Purim. Last Gulf War Purim came just at the end of the war and a lot of people went to Purim parties with their gas masks all decorated. Since 1991 Purim has changed its flavor somewhat, or is it just me growing older? Many important events have been burnt into our memories as part of Purim. Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of worshippers in the Hebron Cave of Machpela in 1994 was the first. Then came the terrorist attack at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv in 1996. A year later, in 1997, it was the terrorist attack in the Apropo Cafe in Tel Aviv. There could be more, but these are the things that automatically come to mind.

So people get nervous at Purim. This is life. The fun and the tragic forever intertwined. The fear of terrorist attacks is such that I have never taken my girls to Purim parades or outdoor street parties. I always loved the Tel Aviv Purim Parade (called Adloyada - “ad de lo yada” means “until not knowing”. You are meant to be so happy in Purim as to be incapable of knowing anything – alcohol is encouraged), and I once took my nephew when he was a baby (he’s now in high school). They haven’t had it in Tel Aviv for a few years. I think the last one here was in 1998. They have one in Holon, a large satellite town just South of Tel Aviv, and in other smaller towns.

[Israeli PM Ben Gurion meeting Egyptian president Nasser - wishful thinking in the Tel Aviv “Adloyada” of 1956]

I can hear happy music coming from the school Purimon. When I took Youngest I noticed the teachers seemed to be having the most fun. They were all dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.


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