No one looks forward to Purim as much as children do, so here's a spate of options to keep them productively entertained:
The country's signature parade is Holon's Ad-Loyada, which takes off at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Fantastic floats (this year focusing on political and cartoon figures) and 4,500 participants - dancers, bands, acrobats, bands, street theater - fill the streets, ending up in a friendly carnival at noon. The Holon Children's Museum, meanwhile, features Purim arts and crafts from Mon.-Wed., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; (03) 650-3000.
Tel Aviv proper celebrates Purim with a big street fair, including eight stages showcasing children's television stars, hip hop performers, circus acts, and more. A huge truck will be brought in to break the world's Guinness record for the largest mishloach manot, to be later distributed among the needy. The fun rolls out on Tuesday at 10 a.m. from Kikar Dizengoff to Sderot Ben Gurion.
The Shine Auditorium at Tel Aviv's Yad Lebanim building hosts four quality plays over Tuesday and Wednesday. The staging of each - The Scarecrow and the musical Saba Eliezer and the Gezer, Little Red Riding Hood: Big Girl, and musical versions of Benzi and Apartment to Let - will be followed by a varied Purim happening; NIS 55 (NIS 10 for happening) - (03) 546-7404 or 604-1707.
Up the hill in Jerusalem, options include a visit to the Israel Museum, where admission for children will be free on Wednesday (10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and activities will include costume contests (come as favorite literary heroes), prizes, Purim exhibits relating to books and stories, outdoor performances of acrobats, jugglers and clowns. (On Tuesday, the museum wll be open from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., with workshops for a fee).
Entrance for children is free at the Bible Lands Museum on both Tuesday and Wednesday (with 50% off for adults). Take little ones ages 5-9 for a glimpse into the world of King Ahasuerus and prepare Queen Esther for the feast at the royal court of Susa in a free museum tour. There will be Purim self-guided activities for ages 9+ and an adult guided tour in English at 10:30 a.m. (in Hebrew ). Opening hours for both days are 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The Tower of David Museum on Tuesday (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) features a storyteller leading A Purim Fantasy through the Enchanted Forest. The journey in search of a princess imprisoned in a bewitched tower guarded by a three-headed dragon is an encounter with theatrical pieces interspersed with dance and acrobatics and accompanied by music. Costumes and masks, creative musical instruments workshops will also be available at this Purim celebration.
The Museum of Italian Jewish Art in the center of town (27 Hillel Street) on Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 noon offers tours of its exhibits, including one of Purim noise makers, at a carnival of the Mifras Theater, giant puppets, and food. A theatrical Purim evening will be held on Wednesday at 7 - (02) 624-1610. Beit Shmuel hosts a Purim happening from 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
And over at the Hama'abada performance space on the grounds of the old train station, a Purim Shpiel for whole family, including a s pecial Purim performance the Vertigo Dance Group, takes place on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Don't forget to check out the new (temporary) ice rink scheduled to open there on Monday (see page 9).
Haifa's Hatzup Masks Carnival for the whole family offers free admission for children, with exhibits, crafts, children's theater, music and dance at the Haifa Auditorium, from Tuesday through Thursday (see article on p. 07).
Mevasseret Zion hosts its own Ad-Loyada parade of decorated floats, music, clowns, jugglers and more classic Purim fun on Tuesday from 11 a.m. Details at (02) 534-9755.