Mimouna, Isru Hag see celebrations extended in J'lem

Reveling in the afterglow of the holiday, hundreds of people descend on the capital’s Sacher Park.

April 7, 2010 05:21
2 minute read.

mimouna 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Reveling in the afterglow of the holiday, hundreds of people descended on Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on Tuesday to celebrate the Mimouna, a traditional post-Pessah event for Jews of North African descent, and Isru Hag, which carries a rabbinic directive to eat and drink a bit more to extend the festival feeling.

Many told The Jerusalem Post that they had simply not returned to work yet, the weather was great, and their kids were itching to get out out of the house.

But regardless of the reason, the park was packed, and smoke from the hundreds of grills that were fired up and cooking everything from kebabs to entrecote steak lent a light haze to an otherwise bright and sunny day.

“People are just happy to have the chance to come out and spend a little more time with their families before they head back to work,” Jerusalem resident Menachem Scherman told the Post as he pushed a stroller with his sleeping kids.

“Sure, a lot of people are here for Mimouna or Isru Hag, but also, the yeshivas have yet to resume their schedules and a lot of kids are still out of school,” he said. “If you look around, it seems like kids make up the bulk of the crowd here.”

Indeed, cotton candy and popcorn vendors, along with a moonwalk operator, had correctly zeroed-in on the demographic and had set up shop. A couple of slightly annoyed horses had also been brought along and their owners were offering rides to scores of elated children.

While the majority of the crowd seemed to be made up of modern Orthodox and haredi families, a decent crowd of secular Jerusalemites were also present and a number of scantily clad teenagers found good spots to set up tents and grills as they spent the day in the park.

At the nearby Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’uma), a Mimouna celebration also took place, complete with an artists’ exhibit, brief descriptions of Moroccan and North African Jewish history and a few stalls selling religious articles.

Miriam Buskila-Levin, who together with her family splits her time between Israel and the US, told the Post it was important for her to bring her daughters to the Mimouna exhibition, “so they could learn about their Moroccan heritage.

“My father came to Israel from a small village near Marrakesh in 1956,” Buskila-Levin explained. “Growing up, it was always so important for him to pass along Moroccan culture to us, not to mention his deep love for the Land of Israel.

“So when I come to Israel with my daughters, not only do I want them to experience Israeli culture, but Moroccan culture as well,” she said.

The Binyanei Ha’uma festivities, which also featured a stand selling moufletta, the sweet, flaky pastry that is an essential part of an authentic Mimouna celebration, continued into the night, with musical performances and appearances by a number of Knesset members.

While only a handful of revelers had turned out by mid-afternoon, organizers were expecting a large crowd in the evening, both for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who was set to take the stage, and famed Mizrahi singer Kobi Peretz, himself of Moroccan descent, who was scheduled to perform a live show.

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