Entries tagged with “Purim”.

Purim is the first spring festival in the Jewish tradition. It celebrates a victory of the Jews and their survival against an evil enemy about 2500 years back, and has borrowed in time elements from the spring festivals and carnivals of many other people among which Jews lived during history, including carnivals with masks and costumes. My festive posting for Purim this year is about Jews and Masks.


source http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-known-masks-in-the-world-on-display-in-israel/2014/03/13/

source http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-known-masks-in-the-world-on-display-in-israel/2014/03/13/


The tradition is ancient in this area of the world. An exhibition at the Israel Museum last year presented some of the oldest masks in the world from the Neolithic period made of limestone, which were found in the Judean Desert.


source https://www.pinterest.com/janmccraw/masks/

source https://www.pinterest.com/janmccraw/masks/


The tradition of using masks and wearing costumes on Purim probably dates from the 15th century and was inspired by carnivals like the one in Venice, Yet, Jewish creativity left its trace and led to the creation of many masks remarkable in beauty and adapted to the Jewish themes.


source http://www.artmitoo.com/2014/12/13/israeli-natural-haven-in-ein-hod-established-by-jewish-artist-marcel-janco-nurtures-artists/

source http://www.artmitoo.com/2014/12/13/israeli-natural-haven-in-ein-hod-established-by-jewish-artist-marcel-janco-nurtures-artists/


Romania-born Marcel Janco was one of the founders of the Dadaist movement and of the European 20th century avant-garde. He came to Israel as a refugee after the breaking of WWII, and became one of the important painters of Israel and founder of the artists colony at Ein Hod. A beautiful mask created by Janco can be admired today in the Janco-Dada Museum in Ein Hod.


source http://jewishmuseum.net/ninth-annual-purim-mask-invitational/

source http://jewishmuseum.net/ninth-annual-purim-mask-invitational/


The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma organizes each year a festival around Purim inviting works from pupils in schools in the area. Here is the poster of this year’s event


source http://artodyssey1.blogspot.co.il/2009/11/alex-levin-alex-levin-comes-from-kiev.html

source http://artodyssey1.blogspot.co.il/2009/11/alex-levin-alex-levin-comes-from-kiev.html


To end here is a beautiful work by Alex Levin – an Israeli artist born in Kiev, Ukraine.

Hag Purim Sameakh! 

A Happy Purim!

The pattern of Jewish holidays goes like this. We first say (or watch others saying) a prayer. Then we tell or read a story about how other very very very bad people tried to discriminate, kill, destroy us the very very very good people. Then we say ‘Oh vey!’ And then we eat. Unless we feast.

Purim is no exception. It is actually an especially cruel holiday. Since the moment our kids are born we need to buy each year costumes, they must be different each year, they never pass from brother to brother or from sister to sister (neither other combinations), and this lasts until the teenager says – ‘I am a grown-up, I do not need that stupid costume for Purim this year’.


source www.tabletmag.com

source www.tabletmag.com


Even more cruel is the name of the traditional cakes we eat on Purim – it is actually ‘Haman’s ears’ – so we eat each year the ears of the bad bad bad guy who tried to inflict suffering on us thousands of years ago. At least they taste better than the ‘matzah’ we will eat one month from now.

So what is left to confront all this cruelty? Humor, of course – the famous Jewish humor, the self-laughing and the smiles mixed with tears that allowed us to survive everything, from Pharaohs to the Jewish holidays. This is why my Purim article this year is dedicated to the Jewish humor, and specifically Jewish humor in movies.

There are plenty of examples. Here are a few. You are welcome to write me and add more.


(video source guru006)


Jews talk with God. In every prayer, in some curses (yes, we also have some and if not we borrow from non-Jewish neighbors) and in the day-to-day lives. Here is one of the more famous such dialogs the one called ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, the musical inspired by the – maybe – greatest Jewish humorist of all times – Scholem Aleichem.


(video source MingoBlue)


Woody Allen could not be absent from such a review. Here he is followed by some Jewish Robot Tailors


(video source  zicrobe)


Non-Jew actors make for some of the best rabbis. As a proof here is the dance of Rabbi Jacob in Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob with my preferred French comedian of all times – Louis de Funes


(video source Filmfood Janneke)


Neither could Seinfeld be absent. Here he is fighting the Jewish food curse, and preparing for the unique Jewish singles night.


(video source Mark Edmonds)

Way for some more controversial stuff. Borat a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen is joined by his audience in singing Throw the Jew Down the Well!! in a satiric reality show approach to antisemitism.

(video source GonzoBlonde)


Is humor permissible in treating such serious themes as the Holocaust? Why not? Most of us now Roberto Begnini’s ‘La Vitta e Bella’ but before it there was Radu Mihaileanu’s ‘Train de vie’. Here is an unforgettable scene describing the encounter between the Jews and the Roma, the two minorities targeted by extermination by the Nazis. Great music too!


(video source Amma1968)


Last but not least – here is a scene good chances you all know. Is this Jewish Humor? No doubt for me. There is nothing more Jewish but laughing in face of adversity, of tragedy.


Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Hag Purim Sameah! A Happy Purim!


The festive entry today in the blog dedicated to the festival of Purim deals with Queen Esther – one of the beloved characters of the story of Purim and history of Jews. Uncounted Jewish little girls chose her as the character that they mask in for the festival. This may be a rather new tradition however, bu the image of the beautiful and dedicated woman fascinated illustrators of the Bible many centuries back. I browsed the Net for information and reflections of the Biblical character of Queen Esther in art, and first of all in painting. Here are a few findings, I hope that you will find them beautiful and interesting.


source http://estherhecht.wordpress.com/tag/illuminated-manuscripts/

source http://estherhecht.wordpress.com/tag/illuminated-manuscripts/


Ancient illuminated manuscripts are among the first to provide representation of the Queen Esther image and exploits. Here is a splendid old Jewish manuscript, one of the oldest and finest in the British Museum collection, from The North French Hebrew Miscellany, 1272-98, representing King Ahashverosh holding out his scepter to Queen Esther.


source http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=30050528+&cr=6&cl=1

source http://www.lessing-photo.com/dispimg.asp?i=30050528+&cr=6&cl=1


Another beautiful example of illuminated art representing the Purim story is the Megillat Esther, a scroll with the biblical story of Queen Esther, read during the Purim festival, created by the Jews of Ascona (now in Italy) in 1784, which can be found nowadays in the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.


source http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1997.156

source http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1997.156


The Metropolitan Museum in New York contains in its collections a beautiful study by Claude Lorrain from the beginning of the 17th century representing Queen Esther approaching the palace of the King of Persia. The vast staging allows for an elegant and complex landscape in Baroque style.


source http://www.jewishmag.co.il/121mag/rembrandt-purim-art/rembrandt-purim-art.htm

source http://www.jewishmag.co.il/121mag/rembrandt-purim-art/rembrandt-purim-art.htm


Rembrandt’s Haman Begging Esther for Mercy painted in 1655 is one of the power pieces of the collection of the National Art Museum in Bucharest. It is dark in coloring (as many of the masterpieces of Rembrandt) and powerful in the composition which emphasizes the relations between the three characters of the Purim story.


source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Ahasuerus,_Haman_and_Esther_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Ahasuerus,_Haman_and_Esther_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg


Another version painted by Rembrandt of the Purim heroes can be found in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. It is called Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther and is dated 1660.


source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esther_haram.jpg

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Esther_haram.jpg


This intense version of the portrait of the Queen is called Esther haram, is dated 1878 and belongs to a painter from the Victorian period named Edwin Long who painted many historical and Biblical stories giving them an Orientalist and erotic touch.


source http://donnasreport.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/documentary-return-to-byzantium.html

source http://donnasreport.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/documentary-return-to-byzantium.html


Contemporary mosaic artist Lilian Broca is well known for several series inspired by feminine Biblical characters among which the one dedicated to Queen Esther is probably the best known. Her technique adapts some of the Byzantine mosaic techniques and materials, and the results are spectacular.


Chag Purim Sameakh! A Happy Purim!

The traditional holiday posting for this Purim gathers music and filmed images, all fun I hope, related to this fun holiday.It’s probably the easiest Jewish holiday to cover :-)


(video source rogatkaproductions)


The first clip shows a Western version of the Purim story.


(video source CantorStephanieShore)


PurimShpiels are staged all over the world, here is one filmed in Boca Raton, Florida.


(video source bluesdance)


… and a tenor’s version with songs from Livorno and Tunis.


(video source CafeComTorah)


The Maccabeats music seldom misses such happy occasions.


(video source goddessbuzz)


The Hamantaschen Song is sang by a group named Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad (is there such a thing? :-) )


source http://www.areyvut.org/resources/holidays_observances/purim/


So go out, put a mask or at least a smile on your face, sing or listen to a Purim song, forget diets and eat some Hamantaschen, it’s Purim!

Hag Purim Sameah!

They say that Not Everyday is Purim, but today it is (or almost)! We went out for a morning walk in Herzlya and the streets were full of Queens Esther, brave Mordechai’s and Gadhafi’s … uh … sorry … Haman’s. Let’s see what new, interesting and fun material can be found on the Internet about this holiday.

(video source MaccabeatsChannel)

The Maccabeats are a a capella group formed in 2007 by students at the Yeshiva University. You can learn about them and hear their music at http://www.maccabeats.com/. Here they are with a Purim song put on the net a few days ago.

(video source einpratfountainheads)

The same song gets here an interpretation mixing rap and dance in the Israeli landscape coming from a group named The Fountainheads.

(video source kartiv2)

Here is a home video by a musician from Israel named Sivan (she writes it C-van) Yihye whose videos on youTube are really fun.

Hag Purim Sameach!

Purim is over, but here is one beautiful song put on music and sung by Dana from Iasi, a colleague from the Internet list rom-jews on the occasion of the celebration of Purim 5769 at Philharmonic of Iasi, Romania.

(video source ariela70)

The original version of the prayer ADONAI YIMLOCH L’OLAM VAED (The Lord God’s reign will never end) is from the book of Exodus and I found on the Internet a version and translation by Steve and Sue McConnell – http://www.malianteocristiano.com/foros/f21/adonai-yimloch-lolam-vaed-steve-and-sue-mcconnell-6751/ whose message I believe is very appropriate for the period between Purim and Pesah.

It’s Purim time again. As the saying goes Not each day is Purim my take is that we should get into the mood and start the celebrations.

One of the best views of the Purim is on the streets of the Israeli cities, with kids of all ages dress for the carnivals and parties.

(video from NTDTVIL)

Here is a more traditional PurimShpiel in an American yeshiva

(video from mackaroni12)

… and a lesser traditional interpretation.

(video from hypersemitic)

Hag Purim Sameah, a Happy Purim to everybody!