The old question is asked “When did Boxing Day fall on Good Friday?”. To those who maybe were not old enough when this question first came out and the e-mails have not caught up with such oldies --- yet!, the answer referred to a horse named “Boxing Day” that fell at a hurdle in a race meeting at Kempton Park in the UK held on Good Friday!
Well on that theme, we have had this year, the festival of Purim falling on Good Friday. Purim is that festival where people give each other mishloach manot http://jewishappleseed.org/apple/shalach.htm , gifts to friends and family and also to those less fortunate than you.
As has become traditional for us, we give such gifts to a home for battered women, here in Haifa. Although I am not familiar with (no that is a bad phrase!!) aware of the details of the women there, I do know that there are a number of women from the Arab community also housed there.
Traveling down to the area of the home, it was necessary to pass through the neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas http://www.tour-haifa.co.il/eng/modules/myalbum/viewcat.php?cid=8 . With all the talk of “ethnic cleansing”, “apartheid” etc, one sees the predominantly Christian community and Moslems going about their daily activities at ease in their surroundings. One feature on the journey on this particular day was the sound of hymns ringing in the streets throughout the neighborhood as the Christians citizens celebrated their Good Friday Easter festival.
On returning home, we began to prepare for our Purim celebrations. In the blog at the beginning of last week, I referred to the children dressing up in various costumes and traveling around the city, one saw fancy dress of many different types. Well it is not only the children!! At the reading on the Book of Ester in the synagogue, some of the “older” members also take the opportunity to “let it all hang out” – see pictures.
In spite of the potential for terror attacks, the citizens entertained and were entertained by a vast range of fun activities. Surely a day to let your hair down and enter into the spirit of the festival, forgetting briefly of the troubles surrounding us.