Purim in Israel did not disappoint! These past few weeks have been all about Purim celebrations. The fun and excitement started on Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet. For my older two girls, the ten days of school from Rosh Chodesh until Purim vacation, and yes, it was a four day vacation, was ten different themed days. They had a balloon day, sports day, ladies day and of course, a dress up day just to name a few. The girls were excited to go to school each day and had a blast with each activity. They came home with face paint, nail polish, balloons and so much more. During those ten days there were no homework and tests which made our home lives more enjoyable and carefree as well.
Apparently there is a tradition in Israel that the ganim dress up the children for Rosh Chodesh Adar. I did not know about this, so I was so surprised when my daughter came home in her adorable get ups. .The first day she was a magicians complete with a card trick to share. The next day she was dressed as a baker and brought home hamentashen that she made in school. She worked on countless projects and had fun with all the decorations and costumes in her gan during the rest of the month.
Tuesday afternoon was the start of vacation. We worked on mishloach manot packing and made hamentashen of our own. Wednesday was Taanit Esther. We had a relatively quiet day. Thursday was strange. The rest of the world was celebrating Purim, but not us. We took the opportunity to take the kids to the kotel and have a fun day in town. Finally after weeks of celebration and anticipation, Purim started on Thursday night. With our costumes on, we headed to our shul for a community wide Purim party. The party was complete with a photo booth, fire show, dancing, hotdogs and cotton candy, and of course a kid friendly megilla reading, My kids came home glowing. Literally, with glow up sticks and light up balls in hand, and figuratively, with huge smiles and faces that showed how much fun they just had. Purim started with a bang.
This was our first Purim on a Friday. I was pretty nervous about how we would fit all the mitzvot and fun into a shortened day. As it is, Purim always seems to be too short, but erev shabbat was a whole other story. We started out early. My husband went to an early minyan for megilla, and I took the girls to the next available one. Our mishloach manot delivering was abridged compared to what we were used to back in America. Between the shorted day and no car, we were not able to give out as many as we would have otherwise. Our seuda started at 11:30AM, so it was more of a brunch. We had a really nice time with our friends and then headed home for showering and shabbat preparations. By the time shabbat started we were all exhausted. It had been an amazing first Purim in Israel.
Purim is a very social experience. Although we missed seeing our old friends and doing our old traditions, it was really impressive to see how many new friends we have made in our new community. Despite only being here a short time, we had a long list of people that we wanted to give mishloach manot to, and we came home to a nice pile at our door. Knowing there were so many people that thought of us and wanted to share their holiday with us, made us feel special and welcomed into the community.
Time is flying. We only have 96 more days until our cake party. Pessach is right around the corner. The kids already started learning about the hagadda and halachot of Pessach. I can not wait to see what this next yom tov season will bring.