Herzliya holiday fest honors 60 years of Israel

'When Adar begins, we increase our happiness.'

acrobats 88 224 (photo credit: Yonit Rafaely)
acrobats 88 224
(photo credit: Yonit Rafaely)
'When Adar begins, we increase our happiness." The wide grins that the Ad Lo Yada Purim parade put on the faces of West Herzliya's children testify to that. Even the parents were smiling. The Nof Yam, Brynson, and Smadar schools collaborated to organize the parade that took place last Friday in West Herzliya. Known as Herzliya Pituah, this upscale suburb is home to many beachfront hotels and expensive residences. Every class costumed itself to fit this year's parade theme: 60 years of Israel. Forty-five children were attired as Theodor Herzl. Other kids wore white robes and crowns bearing the names of different Israeli cities - Netanya and Tiberias were particularly well-represented. A number of children proudly told Metro that they were dressed as "the Land of Israel." Some of the young Herzliyans were dressed as soldiers or clowns. Non-Zionist themed costumes were also on display. Superman was represented, as was his dog and a number of other funny costumes, including a hippopotamus. The parade, which has been held for the last seven years, is a much-anticipated event in these schools' calendars. This year was no different. "It's fun to dress up with my classmates and walk together," one rosy-cheeked "city" told Metro. "Also, I'm performing a dance at the show [later], so it's very exciting." The principal of one of the schools elaborated: "It's true that the children have a fun day celebrating Purim, but more than that, it's… a collective gathering. We invite Beit Hagalgalim and other institutions to be part of our Purim parade. It's essential to be concerned with others during our festivities." The Beit Hagalgalim organization is committed to the personal and social development of the mentally and neurologically handicapped youth in Israel. Its Herzliya house is one of four nationwide, and showed outstanding colors at the event. "The children [attending the parade today] are between 14 and 18 years old," a weekend volunteer explains as his platinum blue wig swings while he walks. "The kids at the home get one weekend a month with us, so we focus on having fun with them. We organize Shabbat meals and activities like water fights; things like that." The parade came to its climax at Smadar Middle School, where a carnival was in full swing. On one side, arts and crafts and face-painting - headed by parent-volunteers - brought glitter to the already glitzy gathering, while on the other, children from all the schools lined up to complete obstacle courses and other Purim play activities. A stand was set up selling 10-shekel chocolates to benefit the children of Sderot. "This reminds the children that they're lucky. They should enjoy this day, but remember that others [might not be] doing the same," says Avi, whose son, Itai, was dressed as a halutz (pioneer), in keeping with the theme of this year's parade. The schools will also be putting together mishloah manot (traditional Purim gift parcels) and sending them to Sderot youngsters. In addition to reminding the children how fortunate they are, the parade also allows them to meet children from other schools. Meanwhile, parents enjoy a chance to meet each other in a pleasant atmosphere. To complete the fun, the children of Herzliya put on a wide-ranging talent show. Nearly every class prepared and rehearsed a dance for a show staged at the Purim carnival. An introduction by the Smadar Middle School band warmed up the audience. "It's not our first show - we play at other schools [on] social occasions, but it was very exciting to play here today," says the band's guitarist, 15-year-old Vered. Other performances ranged from standard Purim songs to Brynson School's Little Britneys group. The gloves were well and truly off when a group of four African Circus dancers left the audience dry-mouthed and breathless with their acrobatic tricks and fiery limbo sticks. It seems this year's West Herzliya Purim Parade ended off with a bang.