Purim Shibang!

Jerusalem was ignited with celebrations last week for Purim: the festival where the Jews of ancient Persia were almost annihilated, and despite the day being saved by Esther (a woman), the male author of the scroll is recognised as the hero. Also, although God does not make an appearance in the narrative, we still attribute the overall victory to Him. The Patriarchy wins again!

As a result of the whole shemozzle we dress up in costumes, give presents to the poor, eat, and get inebriated.

I attended a synagogue service where they sang all the prayers to the tune of Disney songs. Arabian Nights to “Barechu” was my favourite.

I found myself travelling all over the city from the trans party on my base, to the party in the shuk, where hipsters danced ‘ironically’ to pop music, then to a dungeon party under David’s tomb. Luckily he’s not actually buried there, or I would have felt awkward.

But, I wasn’t so impressed with the costumes I saw this year.

For me, I like my costumes to make a statement, say something about the year gone past, or a political comment about something current. The more ‘all-out’ someone goes in the thought, creativity, and follow-through in their costume, the more respect they get from me.

I would have been happy if someone dressed as a whale with a harpoon labelled “made in Japan”, or a wet citizen of Japan who was washed up with a foetus growing from its neck from radiation, or an Iranian Nuke. You could jump onto the dance floor as say “Hey guys! I’m here! Now you can stop writing about me on page of every single newspaper! GEEZ! Every article is either about me, or Whitney Houston!”

While the centre of the country was boogying on down with Purim celebrations, the South was heating up with the exchange of a different type of ‘Mishloach Manotbetween Israel and Gaza.

The truth is I was caught up with celebrations that I didn’t even know about the rocket dance that was going on until my Mum called from Australia and asked if it’s really noisy because of the explosions… I live in Jerusalem. The country may be less than a third of the size of Tasmania, but it’s not that small.

Then this morning I read that Egypt is mediating talks between Hamas and Israel. Egypt. After the Israeli ambassador had to flee from Egypt like food from the stomach of a teenager who shouldn’t have had that last shot of cheap vodka, I feel this mediation really brings new meaning to the Purim song “leitzan katan nechmad roked im kol echad (Nice little clown, dances with everyone).

Never a dull moment here.

About the Author
George Schneider is an Australian born new immigrant to Israel. Prior to his move he completed his BA at the University of Sydney in English Literature and Biblical Studies. He currently works in informal Jewish Education and serves in the IDF.
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