Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back to Basics

This Purim somehow felt like our first in Israel. Last year we had still not found ‘home’ and were very much ‘newcomers’. This Purim marked nearly our first anniversary of living in the same place, quite an achievement since our first six months was played out in three different towns.

The children got dressed up as usual. Not being particularly clever on the sewing front I bought my costumes as usual. Most years the costumes just about make it through till the end of Purim before falling apart. My daughter’s costume was, of course, a princess, and was covered in frills and sparkle. My son was a knight, complete with sword and shield. Both of them shed most of their sparkle before their first outing and the dress turned out to be quite uncomfortable. My son disliked his and ended up donning a cloak, some fang teeth and making a very good vampire (with the help of face paint).

We noticed that many people here hand made their costumes. There are lots of large families here and the cost of buying each child a new outfit would be high. I thought the hand made costumes were great and in somehow were much more in the spirit of Purim. Some of my daughter’s friends came dressed up as a strawberry, a tub of chocolate spread etc. They were inventive and funny and what’s more they were comfortable! I think I am going to make the effort next year to have a go at making costumes myself. Purim has become quite commercialized and the shops certainly did well from their sale of costumes and mishloach manot.

We did make our own Purim baskets though – we bought a selection of sweets, biscuits, fruit, nuts and made cakes. We really enjoyed making them up and adding labels the kids had made on the computer. On the day the kids went out in fancy dress to deliver them all. It was extremely hot this year and they came back tired and hot but with the job done. I took a photo of my little princess daughter, full of frills, face painted, but struggling from having walked around in the heat for nearly an hour; she decided to ‘take five’ and curled up on a rock to catch her breath. It ended up being the picture of Purim for me, encapsulating the day.

We were invited out to eat at our Rabbi's house and a wonderful seudah was put on. A little while after we started eating a group of people dressed in ambulance uniforms turned up. An extra table and chairs were soon gathered and they joined us for the meal. I had assumed they were dressed up and only found out afterwards that they were a local Magen Dovid Adom crew who had called in after coming off duty. So I was not fooled by a disguise but fooled by the lack of one!

Sharona B