Preparing for Israeli Purim Like a Pro

March 6th 2017

Are you visiting Jerusalem this March? If so, you’re in luck because the festive holiday of Purim falls out at the beginning of March this year, and it is certainly one of the most enjoyable celebrations of the entire year. If you want to celebrate this holiday like a local, then check out these quick pointers and popular hot spots to visit so you can walk the walk and talk the talk this Purim holiday.

Note: Even if you aren’t going to dive right into the festivities and get dressed up or deliver holiday baskets, these are sights and sounds that any tourist would be remiss in not checking out. The excitement-charged atmosphere, the throngs of people, and the smiles on everyone’s faces are enough to keep anyone happy for a while.

There are four main aspects to this holiday:

Charity to the poor

Gift baskets

Hearing the Megillah

Having a party

In this article, we’ll cover the gift baskets and since charity is pretty self-explanatory, let’s cover one of the more interesting holiday customs: dressing up in costumes. It is customary to dress in costume on Purim to symbolize the hidden nature of G-d during this time. When the mask is peeled away, G-d’s hand in the whole Purim story is revealed. Next week, we’ll look at megillah reading and the party so you can thoroughly enjoy Purim in Israel.


This is one of the best traditions to celebrate. Dress up in zany, weird, and hilarious costumes that are as subtle or as blatant as your personality can stand. Find a huge array of possibilities at:

Rechov Yaffo/Ben Yehuda: If you’re a tourist then you already know your way around Ben Yehuda. It’s the tourist capital of Jerusalem, and it’s loaded up with trinkets, souvenirs, and gift shops every few feet. Well during this time of year, you’ll also find one of the largest selections of costume paraphernalia anywhere.

Center One (Yirmiyahu St 43): Center One is a popular mini mall at the entrance to Jerusalem. You’ll find good food, cheap sundries, and of course a toy store with massive amounts of costumes on display.

Shefa Mall (Shamgar 17): Another mall with lots to offer, and of course, plenty of costumes to enjoy.

Gift Baskets

A beautiful tradition, gift giving is tied to the essence of Judaism. Friends, neighbors, even strangers, hand each other tasty treats in the spirit of brotherly love. There are plenty of stores that sell pre-made baskets, especially the supermarkets and candy stores, but if you want to put the baskets together yourself, check out a few of these prime locations.

Shivuk Zol (Ohaliov St 7): Shivuk Zol is probably the best place to find the widest variety at the best prices. You’ll be pleased to finally find a store in Israel that lives up to American standards in size, cleanliness, and assortment.

Shigaon Shel Shulchan (Beit HaDefus 17): A massive paper goods store, Shigaon Shel Shulchan has a tremendous array of party goods, bags, baskets, and the works.

Geulah (Rechov Malchei Israel): If you haven’t been here yet, it’s time. Geulah is a neighborhood in Jerusalem, brimming over with Israeli culture and action. Stores selling everything imaginable line the narrow streets, and people, rather than cars, own those roads. There’s plenty to see, hear, and experience, so dive right in!

Once you’ve got all your shopping done, be sure to read our follow up article on the best way to celebrate Purim in Israel.