March Madness: Purim, Now Jerusalem Marathon

March Madness has a different meaning in Jerusalem, Israel.

Purim is a holiday that is celebrated to the max by everyone!

Not just for March Purim Madness time,

image Queen Esther, photo ester hamalka street, picture PUrim

but all year around Queen Esther has her own street.

School children start with Purim on the first day of the month of Adar,

and this being a leap year, we had two months!

image mishloah manot, photo gift packages, picture mishloah manot for sale

Gift baskets for Mishloah manot have been on sale for weeks.

The story of Esther was read in thousands of locations.

image megila reading, picture megillah reading, photo unusual megila reading

There were readings all Purim day at different restaurants,

Zazza on Azza by Chabad Rechavia was a huge success!

image Purim celebration, photo family dressed for Purim, Purim costumes

Some families take their costumes very seriously,

this one even dressed up their dog for a Purim outing.

One of my favorite costumes this year

image purim costume, photo baby purim costume

was this baby as a super-sized bag of popcorn in a baby carrier.

image large wings, costuem Pruim, photo Purim

There were a lot of winged-creatures on the streets.

image Jerusalem mayor, photo mayor Jerusalem , picture Arkat

 OMG, this fellow looks just like Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

And HATS, lots of hats,

image pUrim, purim costume, big hat photo

big hats,

photo fur hat, image hat, picture strimel

fur hats,

image PUrim, photo costume,

pairs of hats,

image Purim, photo purim hats, picture PUrim

hats with ears,

image PUrim costume, photo costume purim

colorful hats,

image Purim costume, photo headdreass. picture Purim costume

and hats with feathers,

image Palestinian, Arab girls in Jerusalem, Purim  photo

and here are more popular Indian feathers this year.

image shaved head, photo design shaved in hair

Not sure that his shaved head was only for Purim.

image Purim, photos purim, picture PUrim

and this I really did not understand!

image balloons, photo Purim, picture PUrim

In busy Mamilla Mall there were lots of balloons.

image PUrim, Mickey mouse costume

Posing with cartoon characters

image PUrim, photo sponge bob, picture purim fun

was for everyone, not only small children wanted photos.

Also spotted in Mamilla Mall,

image boy dressed in santa outfit, photo Purim costuem, picture Purim

at least one Santa’s helper,

image PUrim, costume arab, Google guy

a Google guy,

image man with camera, photo PUrim , costume picture

and one serious Arab shooter, aiming a nice Canon camera.

image large Purim costume, photo PUrim

Some costumes

puim costumeimage, photo PUrim , picture Purim

were obvious,

image man and children Purim, photo man in uniform, picture Purim

while others, a costume or not?

image PUrim crowd, photo Purim celebrations, photo Purim Jerusalem

Thousands were in Mamilla Mall, but I thought it was less crowded this year than last.

image PUrim in Jerusalem , photo first station, picture first station

First Station also attracted crowds this year,

iamge PUrim Jerusalem, first station inside, photo First STation purim

and now some of the area is protected from the weather.

image Purim celebratons, photo chidlren in costume, picture Purim

But watch out for wild animals!

image ice rink in Jerusalem, photo ice skating, picture ice skating

And there were lines for the ice skating rink at First Station.

So by the time Shushan Purim,

the day Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem, Israel, is over,

 posting photos seems like ending a marathon.

And now the streets are filled with signs for Friday’s

image Jerusalem marathon, finish line for marathon picture, photo Jerusalem marathon

 Jerusalem Marathon.

photo purim on Jerusalem bus, photo Purim, Image special for Purim

So until next year, Happy Purim.

More photos for those of you not fortunate enough to be in Jerusalem, Israel for Purim.

Israel Museum Fancy Dress and Old Masks for Purim Inspiration

Purim time.

Time for things to be upside down.

Postal workers were on strike for a day.

Some of the light rail workers were striking too.

The Knesset members were not showing up to vote – on purpose.

The foreign service workers are they still striking?

And David Cameron is to arrive in Jerusalem, Israel.

What a great time to get away from it all.

image Israel Museum, photo rainbow, picture in side Israel Museum

A new exhibit, opened in the Israel Museum,

Dress Codes, Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe.

image new exhibit at museum, photo Dress Codes

Israel Museum Director James Snyder gave an introduction.

image Arab dress, photo wear outside Jewish women Arab world

First were garments worn by Jewish women from Central Asia,

influenced by Muslim society, they certainly were not very revealing.

 As Jews migrated from Mashhad, Iran to Afghanistan,

image burka, Jewish

 they took the chador with them.

This was what a mid-20th century Jewish woman wore in the streets of Herat.

image ornate bras, photo under garments.

However, Rock stars could find inspiration

image garments under chador, photo undergarments.

in the underneath garments on display.

image dresses, photo museum

Clothing was influenced by environment and reflects history.

image clothes, photo costumes. picture robe from Turkey

The robe design for Israeli Chief Sephardi Rabbi came from Turkey,

the red number to the left from Morocco.

Now a few favorite photos,

image belts, photo ornate belts, early men's belts

Men’s belts, earliest male bling?

image white wedding dresses., photo fancy wedding dress, picture old wedding dresses

Elegant white wedding dresses from many parts of world.

image children's clothes, old kids cloths photo, picture old children's clothes

Baby Gap was not first to make children’s clothes like little adult wear.

image wedding dress not white, picture old wedding dress, photo Israel Museum spacial dress

This ornate wedding dress from Turkey was interesting.

Unlike in today’s disposable society, a wedding dress was worn for a life time.

image Torah ark cover, photo parochos, picture parohet

Curator Efrat Assaf-Shapira explained how when a woman died,

the fabric could be used to make a parochet,

a special cover for ark where Torah scrolls are stored.

image colorful scarves, photo pretty scarf, picture special scarf

Along with colorful scarves,

Image special talis, photo talti, picture special prayer shawl

was a special talit, prayer shawl.

If these do not give you some inspiration for Purim,

image Israel museum, photo old things, picture very old

then across the hall,

image old masks, photo ancient masks, picture masks from Juedean Hills

check out the ancient masks.

image old mask, photo mask from anciwnet time. picture old mask

These masks from thousands of years ago,

were found in the Judean hills.

After the very popular Herod, this is indeed a change.

You have six months to see Dress Codes

if you miss it let me know, I have more photos for you.

Inspiration from Story of Esther Today

Inspiration from Story of Esther Today

Yet another red alert in southern Israel!

Talk of SodaStream ads and photos of Scarlett Johansonn

have made headlines around the world.

But I want to share some photos of real women in Jerusalem, Israel,

 that did not make the headlines this week.

image prayer protest, photo prayer at Western wall, picture Al quds

Thousands gathered  on Thursday evening

image Kossel, photo Kosel, picture Al Quds

at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

image prayer at Western Wall, photo Western Wall, picture Kosel,

for a special service with silver trumpets,

with tehilim, psalms,  and prayers,

image man praying, photo man covering eyes. picture man praying

ending as the sun was setting with the Shema Yisrael.

image Uri Ariel, photo MK URi ARiel, picture Uri Ariel at western wall

Housing Minister Uri Ariel was one politician who showed his face.

But did you read anywhere

prayer photo, image women praying at western wall, picture women praying

that the women’s section at the Kotel was full?

image women praying, photo praying, picture women at Kossel

Thousands of women were

image kosel, photo Western Wall, picture Kosel

praying for the future of Israel.

Also, this week was the Jerusalem Conference.

Out of the ten Jerusalem prize winners awarded there,

Geulah Cohen was only woman to receive the honor.

image Jerusalem prize, photo Jerusalem prize, image Nafatali bennetnt, photo Naftali Bennet

  Avraham Duvdevani was presented a certificate by Naftali Bennett.

Interesting that younger attendees had never heard of Duvdevani

and his contribution to Zionism and aliyah.

Last year I thought the lively “discussions” were because it was pre-election season.

photo Israeli politicians, image Michael Ben Ari, picutre Avi Wurtzman

But, with Rav Yisrael Rozen in the middle,

 MK Avi Wurtzman and former MK Michael Ben-Ari had quite an exchange

over government funding for education and families.

image panel at Jerusalem Conference, picture Rabbi, photo Israeli politicians

The entire panel got involved,

image Ayelet Shaked, photo Ayelet Shaked speaking, image Ayelet Shaked

but when MK Ayelet Shaked got the microphone

image Ayelet Shaked, photo Israeli politicians, picture Ayelet Shaked,

 and started to speak, everyone quieted down.

We may have had the driest January in history,

but this week we had enough rain to make tires spin on wet streets.

image tent, protest sign, photo mother vigil

 The week- long Mothers say YES to Israeli Sovereignty vigil

  near the Prime Minister’s House started off on a gloomy, wet day.

photo Nadai Matar, picutre Arieh Eldad, image food at protest

But there were plenty of cookies and drinks as former MK Arieh Eldad spoke.

All week long there has been a schedule of speakers.

photo tent, image Shani Taragin class, picture women studying.

The sun was shining when Rabbanit Shani Taragin led a class.

image vigil, photo Mothers say Yes, picture vigal at Prime MInister's hOuse

Even a neighbor coming to complain of noise could not stop her.

In an amazing Torah class she talked of Esther and Vashti,

so timely as Purim is coming.

Every child has had a special day of fun this week in school.

 The story of Esther is one of taking action, not giving in to an evil decree,

of not obeying a monarch, and of our survival and hope for future.

And finally to end on a bright note, the strawberries that were piled high in 

the shuk, the Machane Yehuda market, were so red I had to stop and look.

photo shuk fruti, image strawberries, picture strawberries in market

Maybe John Kerry keeps coming back to get away from the snow in US

and because he loves the strawberries that are in season in Israel?

Yihyeh beseder.

Purim, Purim and still Purim?

I used to think that if Purim was more than one day, it would be easier,

as spreading out the celebration would make it less intense and less tiring.

Oh, was I wrong!

Purim holiday celebrations begin early in Jerusalem, Israel,

and continue well after others have ended.

While the rest of the world went back to work,

Jerusalem was still in full holiday mode.

Purim festival photo, Purim in Jerusalem

Many synagogues and Megillat Esther readings were colorful events.

Purim celebration photo, costumes

This year zombies and witches roamed the streets at night.  

Purim costume picture, Jerusalem photo

There were some really great shades of hair: blue, purple,

Purim costume,

and fluorescent green. 

Hurva synagogue, Israeli soldiers, Jerusalem photo, J Street

These Israeli soldiers were wearing green too, as they sat in front of the

  Hurva Synagogue listening to their tour guide, they were the real thing.

Purim costumes, Jerusalem photo

But who here is in a Purim costume?

Purim costumes children, Purim Jerusalem, photos costumes

Sometimes it was easy to tell the costumes,

Purim in Jerusalem, costumes

but other times it was not so easy to decide 

Purim in Jerusalem, Jerusalem

who in Jerusalem was dressing up for Purim.

Purim mask photo, Jerusalem images

 I am pretty sure this was a mask.

Purim colorful hat, Jerusalem on Purim

 Often a hat was enough

Purim hat image

to share the festive mood.

street actors photo, Jerusalem on Purim

Streets actors on stilts performed in Mamilla Mall,

Purim costumes photo, adults in costume, Jerusalem photography

but they were not the only big people in costumes.

Purim costumes in Jerusalem

For fancy dresses of all sizes, 

Purim in Jerusalem photo, Jerusalem photographs

Purim was a colorful time,

Purim in Jerusalem image

 celebrated

costumes purim.

 in many ways.

Purim photo, Jerusalem photo

Smurfs were popular – this one was a head turner,

Purim in Jerusalem

as was this hair cut.

men in costumes, Purim image adults , Jerusalem photos

Purim, a time of costumes,

Purim costume, Jerusalem photo

 hair and smiles,

 food and feasting and drinking.

And as every year on Purim, I am fascinated how many

Palestinian family in Jerusalem

 Arab families are out

arab girls

sharing the same streets.

Until next year, 

Purim sameach on bus, Happy Purim sign on bus, Jerusalem photo purim

Happy Purim. 

Still not enough?

Then you can see more photos here.

No Harlem Shake, but 12 Favorite Signs

Though most everyone seems to be doing the Harlem Shake, 

we have not seen anyone doing it yet on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel,

 so decided to share a few favorite signs instead.

Jerusalem signs photo

Signs are an extremely important form of communication

in many neighborhoods.

sign Menchem Alon

Notices of the death of revered former Supreme Court judge Menachem Alon 

David Hartman

and renowned thinker David Hartman were prominent this week.

Jerusalem sign photo

1. This misspelled sign from last year is still a favorite.

Jerusalem signs

2. No words needed here, but here’s hoping there are better directions for

the Jerusalem Marathon that is to run next week on Friday, March 1.

Jerusalem sign

3. Do you really think a motorcycle will not go on a foot path because

of this sign if the riders think they have enough room to get through?

Sign tax office

4. The first time seeing the signs at the tax offices can cause a panic attack.

Jewish agency sign

The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency met this week.

Palestine sign

5. But how many people remember this United Palestine Appeal sign?

new sign Jerusalem

6. There are new street signs on “The President’s” Street.

Street sign George Washington in Jeruaslem

7. But there are other Presidents’ streets in Jerusalem, these

Abraham Lincoln street sign Jerusalem

8. two are named for US presidents honored on February 18 in the US.

Esther street Jerusalem

9. A favorite sign this time of year is this street named for Queen Esther.

King Herod, sign Israel Museum

10. Here is a sign for the new exhibit at the Israel Museum on King Herod.

Arab violence has increased outside the Jerusalem area.

The new government still is not in place, however,

 it is interesting that the Israeli press (not a Purim joke)

ice cream sign

11. has reported that this pistachio ice cream is the Prime Minister’s favorite,

and he requested  NIS 10,000′s worth of it in this year’s budget.

12. Purim is a few days away, so will end with an all time favorite sign

Purim sign on bus

 as the bus soon will say “Happy Purim.”

Shh, Sharing a Secret Spot in Jerusalem

I lived in NYC when snow came down so fast all the buses stopped running.

The only way to get home was to walk or hitch a ride with a stranger who

got off the Long Island Expressway, and tried to drive on side streets. 

I also lived in Boston where once the snow was so deep that guests

could not walk the short distance to come over for our Purim seudah.

Once in Maryland, Shabbat guests got snowed in until Wednesday.

 Oh, I do not miss shoveling all that white stuff one little bit.

This weekend, once again the Northeastern US got buried in white.

What a contrast,

as the Hebrew month of Adar begins,

and in Jerusalem, Israel, it is such a colorful time of year.

Purim costumes, Purim wigs, costume photo

There are plenty of colorful costumes and things for Purim on display,

but it is the natural colors that are so impressive after so much rain.

photo almond blossoms, Jerusalem photo tour

On Friday, white almond blossoms were in full bloom against the blue sky.

Anemones photo, red flowers, Jerusalem photo walk

Thousands of people drove to the Negev to see anemones in bloom,

Anemones photo, Jerusalem nature walk

but the wild red flowers

Jerusalem photo, Jerusalem nature walk

and beautiful scenes

Nature walk Jerusalem photo

can be found right in Jerusalem, off the Yael Sapir Trail.

Red flower photo, Jerusalem nature photo

Maybe these anemones are not as dense as in the Negev,

People in park photo

and only a few people seem to know about this nature spot,

Valley of the Cross, Jerusalem photo

but it is near the center of Jerusalem.

Anemone photo, Jerusalem nature spot

I love seeing the anemone in full bloom.

Jerusalem marathon, Jerusalem photo

The Jerusalem marathon is coming soon.

runner marathon, Jerusalem marathon

Red flowers are not the only things popping up in the Valley of the Cross.

Runners in red tee-shirts are getting ready for the Jerusalem marathon.

This road is the end stretch of the marathon route.

Valley of Cross photo, Jerusalem nature walk

Wonder if any runners will notice the flowers,

or will it stay our secret spot for another year?

Purim Favorites

As the sun set in Jerusalem on Friday, 

costumes,

after days of dressing up and celebrating, Shushan Purim came to an end.

Even though Purim is over, I would like to share a few favorites.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what is a Purim joke

sign  misspelled

and what isn’t, but this sign in Mamilla Mall did get attention. 

candy , "candy store" "candy display"

Mountains of candy are bought for and consumed on and after Purim,

 Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, is a favorite place to get the right thing.

"Purim costume"

In the Rova, The Jewish Quarter in the Old City,

this Fiddler on the Roof costume was a favorite of the afternoon crowd.

But in Mamilla Mall,

duck, Israeli soldier

 I liked the Israeli soldier carefully watching the duck.

emergency responder

 The emergency medical crews were wonderful, responding quickly

to aid young men and women who had too much to drink.

Men were falling down and staggering alone in moving traffic;

it is truly a Purim miracle that no one was killed.

One young woman in the Old City was sitting on the street crying,

not a pretty picture with her mascara running down her face.

There was feasting and singing in the Old City,

but the sights of excessive drinking were depressing.

I wonder what went through the minds of unsuspecting tourists?

balloons, "tying balloons"

Then as I started home, I spotted this young yeshiva student making balloons

and giving them to passing children. What a simple and uplifting sight…

even more so when I realized that the young man is my nephew!

walls of the Old City "photographer"

The clear skies were wonderful for photographs

and the warm weather was great for being outside.

Many who were out during the day 

were surprised to find themselves sunburned when they got home.

Palestinians  "Palestinian families"

And near the end of the day, my favorite:

 even with drunken Jews on the streets of Jerusalem…

 Arab families felt safe enough to shop and go for a stroll on the mall.