Purim. Part of the Purim celebration is a theme of upside down.
Haman vs Mordechai and Esther. Evil vs. Good.
Good triumphant and people living and celebrating the demise of the evil decree.
The story retold year after year, read from a megillah, the Scroll of Esther.
This miniature illustrated megillah in the Israel Museum’s permanent Purim exhibit is a favorite.
However, this Purim in Jerusalem was not like any other.
The municipality had an improved its Purim website with a long list of official activities.
But the huge public sponsored Jerusalem celebrations and gatherings which went on during times of war and terror in the past were canceled.
Last week I was joking about my supersaturated photo of Corona bottles.
This week coronavirus – COVID-19 – is nothing to joke about – except it was Purim.
Not in Jerusalem. See those front lawns and suburban homes? This “flu bug” caught by my photographer friend with a great eye was so clever I asked her to let me share it. Please note the license plate “NF LUNZA.”
Though Jerusalem municipal mega-events were canceled due to the Ministry of Health restrictions, people still arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate Purim and Shushan Purim. Purim was celebrated in the Machane Yehudah Market, the shuk, and Nahlaot, with singing and dancing, costumes, and yes, drinking.
The show went on at the Tower of David Museum, both days, and was sold out at the night event.
Purim in Jerusalem is not a one day, but a week-long event.
Starting on Sunday morning, though sometimes it is hard to tell what is really a dress-up costume, “animals” were spotted.
The morning crowds near the shuk and on King George Street seemed bigger than regular Sunday and included, seniors in wheelchairs and babies in strollers.
Purim costume dress-up is taken seriously in Jerusalem.
These high school girls posed on their way home from school.
Two high school boys let me take their photo, but did not offer me any ice cream.
The 10th annual Azza Zaza Purim was held Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. The megillah was read at dozens of Jerusalem business locations on the hour, every hour in another location, at times even at not kosher restaurants, thanks to Chabad of Rechavia.
At least on Purim, streets were cleared of construction vehicles.
On the streets, creatures with wings were spotted walking,
and angels and princesses of various ages.
Masks for costume or safety precaution?
With over 30,000 Israelis in isolation this Purim, visitors kept their distance.
But even with fewer people on the streets, during peak hours for delivering Mishloach Manot, Purim gifts of food, traffic was enough to be annoying and dangerous.
Part of Purim celebration is the seudah, a big meal with good food and drink.
Costumes are optional, but singing and music and fun are required.
The Jerusalem Marathon was postponed until November 6, 2020.
The COVID-19 coronavirus threatened Purim in Jerusalem.
Families were not out in great numbers as in the past.
I attended smaller megillah readings in private homes and didn’t roam the streets.
But thanks to clever friends, we will share one more Purim image that sums up this truly upside down Purim in Jerusalem.
We worried. We prayed. Then it was time to eat.
Happy Purim from the Jerusalem streets.