Heddy Abramowitz
Artist Living in the Eye of the Storm
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Purim power: Silliness and sickness

Purim, Purim everywhere -- even in the hospital ward [PHOTO ESSAY]

Joy, festivities, costumes, silliness and even drunkenness are all customarily associated with Purim. We give food gifts to friends and neighbors; we give charity to the poor. Yet, as life will have it, not all are in the mood or able to fully participate in this holiday which emphasizes over-the-top exuberance.

Sem Friends at the Jaffa Gate
Sem Friends at the Jaffa Gate

Those who are hospitalized and ill are not overlooked. Having a family member so situated last year brought me to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem even as Shushan Purim was at its height. Traveling from the Jewish Quarter to the hospital gave me a new perspective on the holiday, seen through the eyes of one preoccupied with health concerns.

"Family Costume of Builders"
“Family Costume of Builders”

The contrast between the world outside the hospital and inside the hospital was even starker than usual. The sheer party mood included some of my favorite aspects of the holiday, well-conceived couple’s costumes, family costumes and group friends’ costumes.

Reindeer Couple
Reindeer Couple

 

Local Flavor Couple
Local Flavor Couple

Politics, of course does sneak into the day, with children dressing up as a different sector of society, with adults choosing their costume to make a statement.

Soldier and Hassid Kids
Soldier and Hassid Kids
Conflicted Views
Conflicted Views
Shaarei Tzedek Elevator on Shushan Purim
Shaarei Tzedek Elevator on Shushan Purim

The light rail was filled with revelers inside the train and a veritable impromptu Purim parade was constant along the tracks.

Sem Girls Speaking with Doctor
Sem Girls Speaking with Doctor

Inside the hospital we were tickled to see seminary girls and yeshiva guys going about cheering up the patients.

Singing to Heal at Bedside
Singing to Heal at Bedside

Sometimes even the portions of shalach manot (treats for giving to neighbors) were cleverly comprised to accommodate the patient’s dietary requirements while still bringing a smile.

Purim Portion for the Patient
Purim Portion for the Patient

Even a few celebs showed up, without their entourage or papparazi.

Marilyn Does Bikur Cholim
Marilyn Does Bikur Cholim (Visiting the Sick)

When you think about it though, the laughter of Purim is at its best when directed towards the ailing. Is it not said that laughter is the best medicine?

A joyful Purim to all…

All photographs © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

About the Author
Heddy Abramowitz is a Jerusalem artist. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Holocaust survivors, raised in the southern Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., she shelved her career as an Israeli lawyer in favor of her first love, painting, and exhibits her art in Israel and abroad. Some say she is a lawyer in recovery, others just shake their heads. Believing that art communicates when words fail, she reviews Jerusalem art exhibits in English to broaden audiences for art made in this unique city. She also occasionally weighs in on current events. Living many years in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City significantly affected her outlook on living here, a work in progress. Good dark chocolate is her one true vice.
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