A Purim Story. Holon, Israel 2018

I had one simple wish. To watch Israel’s largest Purim parade, the Adloyada, without having to push, shove, and stumble over the thousands of onlookers in an effort to catch a few up and close glimpses mostly of the city’s various youth groups all marching and cheering while performing impeccable routines.

The parade is the pride and joy of the city whose official slogan is Ir Hayeladim, A City for Children. As such it takes place on the busiest main street of the city, Sokolov, which boasts some of the best Mexican, Moroccan, and Greek street food the country has to offer as well as the obligatory banks, hair salons, pet stores, and fruit stands. 

It just so happened that I was in luck this year. An acquaintance of mine was currently living with his parents who lived in one of the many apartments that stood above the shops, offering an uninterrupted bird’s eye view. I was grateful for the invitation to watch the show from the mirpeset, the apartment’s wide open balcony.

I was given the address and told to look for the door with the name Nagar. After a bit of searching I found the apartment where my friend’s elderly mom greeted me warmly and told me to help myself to the many home baked pastries and mishloach manot which filled up an entire table. I politely declined and made my way to the balcony where I saw an old man sitting on a recliner. He kept repeating in an unintelligible mumble a few words in Hebrew but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Finally he pointed to the wall where I saw around ten, if not more, framed newspaper clippings. I finally understood the words coming out of his mouth. I later understood that this was my friend’s father, an old Yemenite Jew, who was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s. 

Ani Taliti Et Eichmann,” was the phrase he kept repeating. “I’m the man who hung Eichmann.” The newspaper clippings on the wall all corroborated his story, that Shalom Nagar was the jail warden entrusted with watching over Eichmann for six months until he was tasked with pulling the noose around Eichmann’s neck, performing the only execution ever committed in Israel. Now, years later, even through his faltered memory and his Alzheimer’s induced repetitions, he held steadfastly to what had come to define his legacy.

The timing was uncanny. Downstairs the festive parade continued to make its way through the street with talented gymnasts, acrobats, and many elaborate floats. All done in the spirit of commemorating the annulment of a decree to annihilate the Jews in the old Persian empire which culminated in the hanging of Haman and his ten sons. Upstairs was testament that justice and benevolence will always, without fail, ultimately prevail and win over any evil dictator or regime. Eichmann’s hanging is the modern day Purim, a piece of history coming full circle, with the emboldened message that after all the dust has settled, evil will always be conquered.

About the Author
Chava Berman Kaplan grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in her early twenties, first residing in Jerusalem, then Bet Shemesh, and now in Holon. She has two children, ages twelve and ten, who study in a mamlachti school in Holon. She works as an English teacher and has always enjoyed writing as a hobby.
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