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Traditional Purim celebrations are getting revamped across the country this year, with megila readings in the public square, elaborately-staged street carnivals, and the traditional Adloyada parade taking on an international flavor.
Parents who want their children to experience the tradtional reading of the Book of Esther but aren't comfortable in a synagogue can bring them at 8:15 on Purim eve - Saturday night most everywhere outside Jerusalem - to Rothschild Blvd, corner Sheinkin. There, for the second year in a row, the Ta'ir organization and the Tel Aviv Municipality will hold an "inter-active" reading of the story of the Jewish girl who saved her people from an ancient Persian decree of extermination. Ta'ir actors will play out scenes from the dramatic tale as the scroll is read, and kids will be supplied with traditional noisemakers for drowning out evil Haman's name. Also on the program: a costume contest, a music performance, public dancing, and a talk by Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.
Haifa similarly sponsors an out-of-the-synagogue "experiential" megila reading on Saturday night. Taking place at 8 p.m. in the Beit Hecht (Sderot Hanasi 142) on the Carmel and featuring actress Riki Bleich and a talk by Prof. Tamar Elor, the free event will be a more adult-oriented one than in Tel Aviv.
Next day, Sunday, though, is for the kids, with the first ever Festi-Purim (cover photo), in which "the megila comes to life in Haifa." The municipality will section off the Louis Promenade (Louie Tayelet - Panaroma Street) in Mercaz Hacarmel for characters and re-enacted scenes - such as the king's feast - from the historic tale. Kids will also be instructed in Purim holiday traditions through music, a Purim procession, workshops, and other fun activities. Admission is free, except for workshops, where one NIS 15 ticket buys entrance for all. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; details at (04) 835-6862.
The traditional Adloyada Parade rolls on, starting at Sunday noon along Holon's Sokolov boulevard. This year the colorful floats and 4,500 participants - from dancers and musicians to jugglers and acrobats - will be internationally inspired. The float representing China, for example, will feature two dragons from that country, and dancers in authentic dress. Two floats will be particularly neighborly, representing Egypt and Jordan. Two hundred students from the Far East studying in Israel will be marching in native costume, as will children of other diplomatic missions here. The Philipine Embassy will send 50 of its staff in native costume to march to a tune of their land.
Jerusalem's Purim falls only on Monday, but the capital is taking it to the streets as well. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. the Museum of Italian Jewish Art turns Hillel Street, which fronts it and its beautiful, green courtyard, into a Venetian Mask Carnival (Le-hishtolel Be-hillel), complete with street theater and performances.
The Jerusalem Theater will be hosting a carnival from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout its spaces, with dance, theater and music performances - and admission is only NIS 10. Continuing the low-cost theme, entrance and all performances are free on Monday (from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Israel Museum, while mask workshops will cost only a shekel.
See under the "Events" listings for more Purim activities.
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