Today is the festival of Purim and as Wikipedia defines it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim a festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Ester.
With the threat of Israel's annihilation expressed constantly by Ahmadinajad of Iran (yesterday's Persia), the festival could not be more appropriate. Nevertheless, to look around the country and see in the streets, all the children dressed up in costumes ranging from the traditional Queen Ester or Mordechai to the more exotic outfits of Superman or Spiderman gives an atmosphere of fun and allows one to forget, for one day at least, the troubles of the region.
As is traditional, our day began in the synagogue with the reading of the book of Ester and was followed by the giving of mishloach manot http://www.holidays.net/purim/mishloach_manot2.htm. Our usual giving is made to those organisations dealing with the poor of the city and those less fortunate than ourselves.
With beautiful spring like weather, we then spent an hour walking through the Hecht Park, (named after Dr. Reuven Hecht, one of Haifa's leading citizens).Haifa's largest park area, which is parallel to the coastal strip and offers a range of leisure time activities for the whole family and then on to the Dado Beach where families were enjoyed the days holiday before returning home to spoil ourselves and relax with a BBQ of fish on our balcony overlooking the Mediteranean.