What a nice Purim it’s been!
We started with dh taking almost all of the kids to the Young Israel for megilla reading. Last year they didn’t have a minyan but this year we got a call just as dh was about to go to a local shul asking us to come, so dh shifted plans. I was happy to later to hear that there was a nice turnout, and the kids all enjoyed being there.
Then when he got home, dd16 and I went to hear the megilla read at our neighbor’s home. It was convenient, there were just a few of us (so that makes for a nice warm feeling) and the reading was very nicely done. We heard the megilla read there again the next morning, too.
For mishloach manos I always try to make some kind of substantial food. This year it was pineapple noodle kugel with a wafer for the second item. Since it needed to be refrigerated, it couldn’t be packaged until the morning. I like to have everything finished before the first person knocks on the door to bring us something, and sometimes I feel a little uptight about having everything ready by this point. Today I wasn’t ready but I was very relaxed about it. I told myself it would get done when it was done and that was that. Something that I really appreciated was how many people made the effort to deliver to us. It gives an extra nice feeling to know that people aren’t giving to you just because you gave to them first!
Another thing that added to the relaxed day was not having to prepare and set up for the Purim seuda. We ended up with a two hour lull in the middle of the day in which the kids rested/napped in preparation for the seuda. I also got a short nap, which was nice since I was up a couple of times in the middle of the night and was really tired.
Then we all walked over to where the seudah was being held. It was a slightly uncomfortable because people were looking at us strangely. The secular Israelis view Purim as taking place on the last day of school before the two day Purim vacation; that’s when you see a lot of people in costume. (This is somewhat nice because there’s a bit of a Purim atmosphere but somewhat disturbing because the costumes are a bit….disturbing. Examples? Teenage boys dressed as butterflies or Minnie Mouses, wearing tights and tiny skirts that barely cover their bottoms – which was better than those dressed as princesses who sent shirtless but painted sayings and pictures on their chests, girls walking around in bikinis dressed as the Little Mermaid….it’s obviously something cultural because I never saw people dressed like this for Halloween in the US.)
I wanted to take a picture of us all before everyone got busy and it was too hard to gather for a photo, but as soon as I got there I was already too late since a couple of the kids were already busy with their friends and couldn’t be found – that’s why – ds14 and dd12 aren’t in the photo. (Ds19 is staying at yeshiva for Purim, dd18 is in the US for a short visit.) Ds3 is the clown in front, ds5 is the king on the side who thinks he wasn’t in the picture (he was unusually camera shy today because of his kingly attire), ds6 is a sheriff from the Old West, ds10 is the cute chassid, Yirmiyahu is a bear, and dd16, dh, and I all wore some colorful headgear.
Ds14 and a friend prepared several Purim skits for the seuda – I appreciated all of those who took time to prepare something since each thing enhanced the meal. (He’s the tall one, in case you wouldn’t have guessed.)
The kids were scattered around during the meal, but at least I knew where Yirmiyahu was most of the time! Most of the time, though he disappeared with the girls and their friends who wanted to hold him for a while…
Then there was dancing. Ds6 and ds10 (not shown) both got into this, but ds3 was too busy playing with a one year old baby he befriended to do anything else, and ds5 was enjoying playing with friends. It was so nice to watch them all enjoying themselves!
Soon after this some Israelis came to join in the fun. One particularly lively man is a teacher at ds14’s school, and was a little tipsy when he arrived. You know what they say about people drinking, that you get to hear exactly what they think? As soon as he saw dh, he told him, “Your son belongs in a regular yeshiva, you’re going to be crying forever about what you’re doing” (ie sending ds14 to a yeshiva with secular studies). He’s a nice person and dh and I didn’t take offense; he’s not the first to tell us this, though others weren’t drunk and have been more diplomatic.
There were a number of nice families at the communal meal, and we were there until pretty late; we stayed until the very end and then helped move all the tables and chairs back into place and do some cleaning up. A friend of ds14 had gotten sick so he spent quite a bit of time with him after the seudah and then slept over at his house in case his friend needed him. The rest of us headed for home and we all agreed it had been a nice Purim!