A simple greeting this week, wishing all a restful Shabbat.
It is Spring in Jerusalem, Israel, and the barren land turns green from the winter rain.
The flowers pop up from out of the ground.
Even from deep in ancient rocks, new life and color emerge, as the rafkefet, the cyclamen, thrive with the cool winter temperatures.
Planted flower beds are ready for longer days and warm sunshine.
The special Ai WeWei art exhibit at the Israel Museum is ending, while the annual Sounds of Night Festival in the Old City is coming soon.
But, this is Purim week in Jerusalem, Israel.
In Israel, it goes on and on for more than one day.
Many museums are free for children both on Purim and Shushan Purim this year, on Thursday and Friday.
However, costumes have been displayed for sale for weeks.
Wedding photos are often taken near sunset in Jerusalem parks, but this miniature bride was getting her Purim photographs taken a week before Purim in the Rose Garden near the Knesset.
After days of younger children going to school dressed in pajamas, upside-down and whatever clever theme teachers could think of next, high school students joined in the holiday fun. On King George Street, LegoMan was a colorful and clever idea.
Marionette guy took a second to turn and pose on his way to school.
These girls were on their way dressed in a theme, but went past too quickly for me first thing in morning. I will spare you all the family photos posted on WhatsApp as they headed out to school. We even had a poop emoji in the bunch.
Activities, and especially dress-up, were the rage in schools for nursery age children throughout Israel. These cuties, policemen, brides, princesses and more in the south were singing Purim songs for us as we passed by their playground.
Purim carnivals and other activities have been held since the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar, with schools involving communities to celebrate in the fun.
Oh and the food. Hamentashen galore in a list of flavors growing annually. The days of only poppy-seed and prune are long gone, only memories.
The Purim seuda, the festive holiday meal, is enjoyed by Jerusalemites on Friday, and should begin early enough so as not to interfere with the onset of Shabbat. We are planning to start at 11:00 after reading Megillat Esther. Others are starting later and going into the Sabbath.
Meanwhile, it is time to get cooking. I used to think it was be good to have extra time to prepare for Purim, a one-day holiday that went by so quickly. Now I’m not so sure. Creating multiple costumes, sending treats to school classrooms, beside the usual preparing food gifts to send, it seems endless.
For the 8th year, AZZA ZAZA, continuous readings of Megillat Esther are being offered by Chabad in the Rechavia neighborhood. They offer over 20 readings, every hour in various public locations near Azza Street.
There are more Purim celebrations and events in Jerusalem than we can list, but the municipality website has a few of dozens, in English listed HERE