Sunday, March 8, 2009
Actually, Purim won't be here for another couple of days (three if you live in a walled city, such as Jerusalem, Sfat, Tiberias or Acco), but I always think of the day the kids celebrate at school as the real holiday. Above are the goodies (mishloach manot) my girls took to school today. As you can see, Liat wanted to use the old soda bottle trick for her gift. In elementary school, the kids get a list of items that should be included, such as: hamantaschen, lollipop, chocolate, a salty snack, gum, a small surprise, and a note. Usually, the kids bring these treats to school not knowing which of their classmates will receive their offering.
This year, Meital decided to dress up as an artist. Ever since she started elementary school, her costumes have been either white, black or both. In case you're interested, I'll list them all at the end of this post.*
The only time we bought a costume for Meital is in the first grade. Once I knitted her costume, and the rest of the time we either put something together or sewed something. Not too shabby! Liat hasn't dressed up since 6th grade, and Meital is in 6th grade now, so I'm sort of summarizing here in case she also decides not to dress up anymore. Though on our morning walk today Avi and I saw quite a few junior and senior high school kids in costumes - some even homemade (that always warms my crafter's heart). And Liat mentioned that several of her classmates were in costume today. I think that's great; these kids grow up so quickly, and in another two years Liat and her peers will be in army uniforms. Why not have some lighthearted fun?
The fun continues for a few more days. First and most important, especially if you're a kid, there are three days of vacation. Tomorrow evening there will be a Purim carnival in our neighborhood community center, and many people will go to synagogue to hear the Book of Esther read. That's always a wild and fun time, with candy thrown and noisemakers used to drown out the name of the evil Haman, but Avi and I haven't gone to synagogue for Purim since Liat was a baby. A couple of posts ago, I included a link that explains about the holiday and customs.
Yesterday I baked the traditional Purim cookie called hamantaschen (or osnay Haman, as they are called in Hebrew). These are triangle shaped cookies with a filling, often poppyseed or prune, but sometimes apricot, chocolate, or our family's favorite, strawberry jam and pecans. These are a mandatory part of the goodies given away, and the main symbol for the holiday. Or the main food symbol, anyway. Ever notice how Jewish holidays always have food as a symbol? It kinda fits with the summarization of all Jewish holidays that I read once somewhere: "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat."
Today I baked cookies, and tomorrow Liat will make cupcakes. These non-traditional treats will go onto the plates of goodies, along with the hamantaschen, that we will be giving to some good friends and of course to our family in Jerusalem. We will go to visit the latter probably on Tuesday. If this year is like other years, we will also be receiving treats from our friends and loved ones. Delivering the goodies is an excuse to drop by for a quick visit, which is always fun.
Costumes, candy, baked goods, visits with loved ones. Is it any wonder Purim is one of my favorite holidays?
* Meital's Costumes in Elementary School:
1st Grade: White Bunny (purchased costume)
2nd Grade: Burglar (knitted black ski mask and sweater)
3rd Grade: Angel (white dress plus home made halo, wings and harp)
4th Grade: Penguin (black clothes plus home made beak, feet and wings)
5th Grade: Chef (remember that saga from last year? homemade apron and hat)
6th Grade: Artist (purchased palatte, rest of the stuff from around the house)