March 13th 2017
Every holiday in Israel is special, what makes Purim truly unique though is that it’s the only country where you can celebrate the holiday twice in one year! Take a look at how to celebrate Purim right while touring Israel this year.
Four Aspects of the Holiday
Purim has four major components:
Gift giving (Anyone who wants to do something special for the holiday, should learn about the packages to combat terror initiative).
Hearing the Megillah
Having a party
There’s also a non-biblical theme of dressing in costumes that nearly everyone has adopted. The costumes, charity, and gift-giving were covered in last week’s post, so this week we’ll dive into the megillah reading and, everyone’s favorite, the PARTY!
Traditionally, Jews listen to the Megillah or Book of Esther, a biblical scroll that contains the story of Purim in a blow-by-blow account, twice on Purim: once at night, and once during the day. Visit any synagogue in the neighborhood where you’re staying, or head to the major gathering spots like the Western Wall, Great Synagogue, or Dizengoff Sq. for public readings.
Note: Tourists should come prepared and be respectful. Readings take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and require silence. You may wish to find a children’s reading if the full version is too much for you.
Now for the best custom of the entire Jewish calendar – the Purim meal is a mandatory party where drinking, fun, and merrymaking are obligations taken seriously by most! Wine and alcohol are free flowing, food is abundant, and spirits are high. The best part is that by finding the right crowd, you’ll be able to take part in a jovial atmosphere without the usual violent, sloppy, or unappealing aspects of a typical drinking fest.
And now, for the double celebration aspect: Tradition decrees that Jerusalem citizens celebrate Purim one day after the rest of the country. This gives ambitious partygoers an opportunity to celebrate the holiday twice in one year. Have fun drinking, partying, and reveling on Purim outside of Jerusalem, and then head to Jerusalem for another day of festivities!
Purim is a great time to be in Israel, so be sure to check out all the Purim scenes, and extend your merrymaking for another day of fun!