Wednesday, March 07, 2007
וימי הפורים האלה ...and these days of Purim
While I hope to go back and give a brief update of last week, which was mostly filled with hard work, I thought I'd go back just a few days, and describe my unique experiences of celebrating Purim twice, once on kibbutz Ein Tsurim, and again in Jerusalem the next day (this can be done because of Jerusalem's status as a walled city, meaning that Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar instead of the 14th).
Although I thought it would be a relaxing day, this past friday was actually pretty busy. It started out as usual with Davening at 6 AM, relaxing time, and breakfast. I then made a quick run to the Kol Bo, and the spent the morning peparing decorations for our Purim party Motzei Shabbat. I had been craving a good shawarma, so my friend Matt and I went into Kiryat Malachi for lunch and some shoping at the grocery store there, which was full of displays of Purim goodies.
Friday Night we had tefillot as a group, after which I went to the Chadar Ochel for dinner. Following dinner and Zemirot, my friend Josh and I led a study session on Purim, where I taught a funny text from Masechet Megillah (Daf 7a), and Josh led a discussion.
Shabat morning we davened in the Kibbutz Beit Knesset, where services were nice and (relatively) fast, but including some nice Purim touches, such as misheberachs for people's ages, and including Mordechai Hayehudi v'Esther Hamalka! After tefillot, I went with my friend Abbie to our host family from the Kibbutz, Avraham and Rivka Slater, to eat Shabbat lunch with them, their children, and new granddaughter. besides for being a really nice family to get to know, it was also a pleasure to have a delicious home-cooked meal. I then got a great Shabbat nap for most of the afternoon until it was time for Mincha, when I was Gabbai and added my own special misheberachs. We then had seudah shlishit outside, and I led maariv and we did Havdalah. We only had a few minutes to get ready before megillah reading #1 began. I quickly changed into my costume, as the red Teletubbie, (Nes Gadol Hayah) Po!
Reading #1 was held a Yeshivat Ein Tsurim, the modern Orthodox Yeshiva on the Kibbutz grounds. We arrived just in the nick of time for the reading which began promptly at 7 PM. The entire megillah was read by one student, who was nearly flawless in his reading and added voices for some of the characters as well. The tsibbur was made up mostly of the students who are my age or a little older, was well as some faculty and others.
After the reading we had some time to relax and hang out, and around 10 PM, the other Nativ groups from Be'er Sheva and Yeruham came to kibbutz for a Purim costume/dance party.
The next morning, I got to sleep in a little past my usual wake up of 5:40, and got up and ready in time for Shacharit and megillah reading #2 at 8 AM Shacharit and megillh reading. Shacharit, was little less rushed then usual, and the Kedusha was even done to the tune of Ani Purim. Although the reading was a little quicker than the night before, it was still pretty festive and I was still able to understand every word.
After the end of Shacharit, we found out that there was a bit of a mix up with our Purim seudah from the kitchen, and there wasn't any food for us. However, we didn't dispair and instead bought an assortment of delicious brunch food at the כל בו (general store).The Seudah was held in the late morning and despite the hitches, went off pretty well, including my recitation of the 'Purim Kiddush'! I left Kibbutz shortly after noon and caught the 437 Ashkeklon-Jerusalem Egged bus, got a round trip ticket, and was off towards Jerusalem. When I arrived it felt so good to be back, almost like coming home. After going through security and walking through the bus station, I headed down rechov yafo and took a walk around downtown, so happy to be surrounded by the city as it got ready for purim, with music playingt in the streets, people walking around, and warning signs in Meah Shearim ('On Purim, Don't leave the kids alone!'). I then Walked back towards downtown via Strauss and King George Streets, and a little while later caught the 7א bus to the Moshe family's home in Talpiot. I got dropped of just a block and a half away, and ran into Janet right outside her house. We went upstairs, caught up and chatted for a while, and soon it was time for me to shower and get ready for the beginning of Shushan Purim!
For reading #3 I returned to one of my favourite shuls, Kehilat Yedidya, for what was one of the most joyful megillah readings I have ever heard. Around 6 PM, the room began to fill up and within 15 minutes both sides of the mechitza were packed. After a festive Maariv service, the megillah reading began. The different chapters were read by both men and women, and many of the readers used amazing special voices for lines spoken by Mordechai, Esther, Achashverosh, Haman, and Zeresh (his wife). There was also a trumpet that someone brought and played at appropriate phrases during the text. As well, the kahal also made appropriate noises at different points, in addition to some good booing for haman. After the end of megillah reading, I went back to Janet's, ate dinner, and read until I fell asleep.
I woke up around 7 on Monday morning, had a cup of tea, and then took a leisurely 40 minute walk to the Conservative Yeshiva. I got there, talked to people for a while, and then got ready to daven P'sukei D'zimra and Shacharit. Both were drawn out in honour of the holiday, and included pop tunes, nusach for every holiday, and more, which was fun, despite being long. During the Torah service I did a pretty improved hagbah, and soon it was time for megillah reading #4. Each of the 10 chapters was read by a different Yeshiva student and although there weren't as many funny voices as the previous night, I was impressed by the high quality of all of the readings. After the conclusion of Shacharit, and a purim edition of the dedication of the day's learning, the Yeshiva sponsored a delicious brunch outside in the courtyard. After the meal, we went back into the Yeshiva for both the staff and student purim shpiels, as well as a talent auction for Tzedaka. The shpiel was hilarious, full of inside jokes, all of which I got of course. It was already 1 PM by the time the shpiel ended, so I ran around the corner and after missing the first #7 bus, another one miraculously pulled up two minutes later. Janet's seudah was very nice, with an interesting mix of families and friends, although I didn't really know anyone. Around 5:30, I realized that it'd take a while to get back, and said goodbye. I then took a number 21 bus to the תחנה מרכזית (central bus station), and just made the the 6:45 bus to Ashkelon (which stops right outside kibbutz).
The past two days have been filled with getting back into the work routine, getting over a cold, finishing The Kite Runner, and just enjoying kibbutz life.
Boy, its almost time to start thinking about Pesach!