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Top Purim Events in Jerusalem 2013
Photo: Courtesy of Tower of David Museum
Things to Do in Jerusalem for Purim 2013
There are plenty of fun and original ways to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Jerusalem this year. Recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther), the holiday of Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jews in the ancient Persian Empire from the wicked Haman who aimed to destroy the Jewish people.
Purim day is celebrated with a reading of the story of Megillat Esther, wearing of masks and costumes, giving gifts of food and drink (mishloach manot) to friends, charity to the poor, a festive Purim meal (seuda), partaking of wine and public celebration.
Purim in Jerusalem is especially festive with people in the streets in colorful fancy dress, endless parties, mask-making workshops as well as the reading of Megillat Esther on the streets and in synagogues around Jerusalem.
Purim is celebrated a day later than in most other cities (on Shushan Purim), so if you're in Israel over the time you can get your money's worth and do extra well with adloyada, when you revel so much on Purim that you no longer know the difference between "Blessed be Mordechai" and "cursed be Haman".
Purim in Jerusalem for Children
Almost all of the major museums in Jerusalem have dedicated activities on offer for children. To get your kids in the spirit of Purim in Jerusalem in advance, head to the renowned Israel Museum for a workshop dedicated to mask-making (suitable for 4-8 year olds) with a lovely dance story (25 ILS for both; 15 ILS for just the story). Or, visit the LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art for mask-making as well as creating ra'a'shanim, used to make noise upon hearing Haman's name during the reading of Megillat Esther.
Children can learn more about the era that the story of Esther took place as well as other time periods in Jerusalem’s history at the Tower of David. Or, they can get actively involved in workshops on mask design, creating a 3-D Palace Theater and drawing Jerusalem cartoons and caricatures. There will also be a musical masked ball on the Friday before Purim featuring songs from musical productions, films and operas. The famous Night Spectacular will take place at a reduced fee of 40 ILS.
The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is offering special activities designed to make your kids laugh. Or, gather family and friends and head to the event Festive Family Happenings at Safra Square, which features performances by the Train Theater, a costume contest and other fun free activities.
Israel Museum event: +972-2-670-8811; until 26th February
LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art event: +972-2-566-1291; 24th– 25th February 10:00 – 15:00
Tower of David : *2884; Masked Ball: 22nd February 11:00; Other activities: 24th - 25th February 10:00 – 15:00
Bloomfield Science Museum: +972-2-564-4888
Festive Family Happenings at Safra Square: +972-2-629-6000
Live Music on Purim
Israeli band Balkan Beat Box will be performing at the acclaimed Zappa in Jerusalem this Purim. The group is known for their distinct sound combining Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern-inspired beats, gypsy punk and electronica, and have performed at major festivals like Glastonbury in the UK and collaborated with major international artists like Radiohead, Manu Chao and Beastie Boys. Tickets cost 129 ILS in advance or 149 ILS in advance. Or, head to Avram Bar near Mahane Yehuda market for a vibey Purim party featuring klezmer band Oy Division and a costume contest (50 ILS).
Balkan Beat Box: *9080; 25th February 20:30
Oy Division!: +972-7-445-0701; 23rd February 21:30
Purim Plays (Shpiels) in Jerusalem
The story of Purim and Megillat Esther is brought alive in Raise Your Spirit's production of Esther and the Secrets of the King's Court at Gerard Behar Center in town. Performed before a female audience only, the talented cast stays true to the original story while providing exciting twists and surprises along the way. A ticket costs 50 ILS. Or head to Beit Shmuel for a fantastic rendition of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp by the Israeli Inbal dance troupe (65 ILS). Though the story is not Purim-focused, the vivid costumes and set design are fitting with the theme.
Esther and the Secrets of the King Court: +972-6237000; 17th February 17:00
Aladdin and the Magic Lamp: +972-2-620-3463; 25th February 17:30
Purim-Themed Exhibitions in Jerusalem
Visit the Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem and take in the exhibit "A Walk with Esther", a virtual tour inside the Scroll of Esther from Venice and Northern Italy. Feel as if you are walking with the images with digital enlarged images of their illustrations. You may also enjoy taking a a stroll through the exclusive Alrov Mamilla Avenue and admiring the largest outdoor exhibition in Israel on the theme of laughter and humor. The exhibition features more than 210 works of art by 63 local and international artists. To read more, click here.
Museum of Italian Jewish Art: +972-2-624-1610; 14th February – 10th March
Exhibition at Alrov Mamilla Avenue: +972-2-636-0028; 19th February 2013 – 19th February 2014
Purim in Nature
Get in the Purim spirit a few days in advance by heading to the Gazelle Valley Purim Party and learning more about one of the greatest survival stories in the history of Jerusalem. There will also be activities for children and a costume competition. A few days later watch the birds getting dressed up for Purim in Einot Telem near Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Bird Observatory: +972-2-653-7374
Partying in Jerusalem for Purim
Check out our listing of top parties in Jerusalem for Purim 2013 in our article, "48 Hours of Partying: Top Purim Parties in Jerusalem 2013"