Purim antics around Jerusalem

I got to celebrate Purim three times this week!  At church, work and at a friend’s house.

Lots of dressing up!

What was funny, was the number of people dressed up Hispanic or Asian kind of themed things, and some of my friends, from Jewish and regular Christian backgrounds from Peru, Mexico, Japan, China, forgot to get a costume!   I didn’t have much, just a Hawaiian shirt and some flowers round my neck, but most people had some pretty awesome outfits!

I haven’t seen Arab chap with a Tina Turner wig before!

At work, this is a kind of a Jewish equivalent to a Christmas panto.

Got to watch a movie at church about the story of Esther, sadly the DVD seem to have a scratch on it, as it glitched and eventually froze before the end of the film 😦

Ironically as Purim celebrates Jewish people escaping death from the hands of a King of Persia, today the Jewish people face the same old story all over again, with the current leader of Persia (we call today Iran) and Ahmedinjad who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and is a top wholesale supplier of weapons to Hamas and Hezbullah.   Some things just don’t change.  Nowadays of course, Israel is threatened by hostile neighbours and the media rather condemns it for taking land that it had sovereign rights for it already, and recent events like rocket attacks, some with 40km radius reaching Ashdod and Beer Sheva, a family murdered in Judea, and a bomb in Jerusalem are only briefly mentioned. 😦

After church I went with some people out on the town as it was Purim and the streets are busy with people in costume.   We headed to this restaurant I have not seen before in Jaffa Street.  I forget the name now, its a soup kitchen with a mostly student and young adult clientele.   Its one of these places with odd pieces of bric-a-brac, ie: a Hebrew typewriter in the window, odd pieces of furniture that made it feel like an old school canteen.   All the cups used to serve coffee, tea or water are all different types seemingly acquired from a jumble sale.

Chandeleir made of spoons!  You can get Shushkar or soup with some nice crusty bread and a beer!

An interesting twist on “time at the bar please!” when the restaurant staff hinted that it was time (about 11pm) to shut, they just put away some of the chairs, and put on some loud techno music on and danced in the middle of the room!  I would like to find out how easy it is to write reviews for travel books as this place ought to be listed in Rough Guides or Lonely Planet books.

As a gentile Christian, I would like to say I like to join in with the Jewish festivals here, but at the same time I still celebrate Christmas and Easter, as maybe the timing may or may not be correct and they have been heavily exploited commercially, but all these events are good to spend time away from work, be with family, friends and personally seek the Lord and having a party and letting you hair down as well is always good.

Jerusalem Parade

Jaffa Street is looking like a race track, there are loads of police and security, mainly trying to make sure people don’t walk across the road.

This parade is a big event that happens each year and is lots of fun.   Its not political although there are soldiers there, and the police, various Christian organisations.

Vintage buses and trucks, some are very old, probably date around 1948.

Left. Gasp!  The new electric lightrail train is here!  Apparently its not supposed to be running yet, just a brief glimpse of it was operating today only.   The electric overhead wires were powered on a couple of weeks ago, but some of the infrastructure is not finished, there are some computer screens on the bus stops are not installed yet. Right. Police dog handlers.  The canines seem to be an unusual indeterminate breed, they are shorter and stockier than typical German Shepherds normally use for police and military uses.

El-Al, Israel’s national airline, had their pilots and stewards out doing their own dance.

The International Chrisitan Embassy Jerusalem. (ICEJ)

Some Christians from the Philipines…

and Norway, Hong Kong, China…

Below from the Daily Planet…

Disabled Israelis also here.   There were loads more people attending, but I had to get back to work. 🙂

Jerusalem Beer festival

Wasn’t planning to go to this initially, but saw it on my way home from church worship event on thursday night, so I thought why not. 🙂

I was going to go to the beer event last year but after queueing for an hour, the gates were locked and they wouldn’t let us in.   Something to do with a legal issue about serving alcohol which the government people were discussing with the event organisers.   We ended going a usual local instead.

This time the event was in the old Jerusalem railway station, behind the Lab bar.

Not a bad event, but I didn’t get to see any live bands as I was there about 10.30pm and I guess they had stopped playing.   There were very long waits at the bars, and even waiting at the largest one for 10 minutes, I almost got bored of waiting.  Something to do with lack of normal queueing, instead requires a bit of assertiveness and force to get the barman’s attention.

All the beers offered and promoted at this event were all European brands.   Its a shame there wasn’t Goldstar or Macabee there but I guess this was an event for local Israelis rather foreigners who wanted to try something else other than the familiar Israeli beer.  There were quite a few tshirt shops and craft stands.

Good to see none of this ‘my <low_volume_ale_with_daft_name> is better than your <mass_produced_beer_with_big_marketing_campaign>’ snobbery nonsense, there was all kinds of booze offered including some special Israeli vodka I had not seen before.

This maybe down to some good security and police outside, but compared to how an event like this would probably turn out in the UK, I think I only spotted one person you can say had ‘over done it’  a little.

I like the fact that Israelis are neither prude not excessive, and this was a good party event I think, that shows the fun side of this place and the outgoing nature of most Israelis.