Award-winning writer and lecturer Barbara Sofer grew up
in a small town in Connecticut, and moved to Israel in 1971. She is a
graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem. Her articles -taking on a wide range of subjects from ethnic
cooking to terrorism--have appeared in The New
York Times, The Boston Globe, Parents, Readers' Digest, Woman's Day,
Hadassah Magazine and Inside Magazine
among many others. She writes a bi-weekly column for the Friday Jerusalem
Barbara has written five books and contributed to
EXCERPT FROM CURRENT ARTICLE
The Human Spirit: Gone to soldiers and princesses
By Barbara Sofer
These are the days in Israel when the last of the laundered Purim costumes are being packed into storage for next year, and Passover prep has begun.
A few thoughts on Purim before tucking this holiday away until 5775, or until the Messiah arrives – whichever comes first. (We all know that Purim is the holiday that is supposed to exist even in the Messianic Age.) The presence of an American cousin on a high-school study program in Israel during this year’s celebrations made me realize once again how Israeli Purim is a surprising, even startling experience for those who have never experienced it. That’s true even for someone who has been receiving an excellent Jewish education in the Diaspora.
It doesn’t appear that the popularity of the holiday has diminished with our growing sophistication and global exposure.
From the beginning of the month of Adar, children and adults feel comfortable wearing costumes and clown makeup in the street. My teenage cousin assumed that the young woman in a bridal gown was indeed getting married.
Where else but in our integrated culture would you see that the local toy store is running a sale on costumes of King David, the high priest and zombies? Tzohar rabbis organized public readings in community centers across the country; women’s readings and family readings flourished in synagogues.
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