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Racheli works in Arad selling candies and gifts -- and Purim mishloach manot -- at Effie Zol. March 6, 2023

Israeli children nationwide entered their classrooms on Sunday and Monday with an amazing range of colorful costumes in anticipation of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which started Monday evening.

Purim mishloach manot food packages for sale in the center of Arad on March 6, 2023

In the northern Negev town of Arad, perched on a ridge above the southern end of the Dead Sea, storekeepers also got into the spirit of the holiday.


Effie of “Effie Zol” and his worker, Racheli, were dressed to the nines for the occasion, bringing delight to young customers.

From the north to the south, laughing, smiling children trooped into schools in every village, town and city in the country, most of them to the sound of cheerful Purim songs piped through the buildings’ speaker system.

Jewish Israelis from “Asa Hil” school dressed up in costumes as they take part in the Adloyada Parade for Purim in the Jewish town of Efrat, on March 5, 2023.

In many cases, the children came bearing gifts, kid-sized versions of the traditional mishloach manot food packages gifted by Jews to each other to celebrate the ancient holiday.

Israelis dressed up in costumes for the Jewish holiday of Purim, at a school in Katzrin, Golan Heights, on March 5, 2023.

Purim dates back to the 5th Century BCE that marks the rescue of the Jewish People from the Persian Viceroy of the time, Haman, by Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai. Haman issued a decree ordering the annihilation of Jewish men, women and children throughout the Persian Empire; the order was countermanded by King Ahashuerus once it was revealed by his Jewish Queen, Esther.

Hasidic Jewish kids from the Pinsk-Karlin dynasty dressed up in costumes at their school in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Meah Shearim, a few days before the Jewish holiday of Purim. March 5, 2022.

The holiday is called “Purim” — literally “lots” in ancient Persian — because Haman threw lots to determine when he would carry out the destruction, according to the Biblical Book of Esther, known as the “Megillah.”

Young Israeli children dressed up in costumes for the Jewish holiday of Purim, seen outside a school in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, March 5, 2023.

In addition to the gifts they exchange on the holiday, Jews listen to a live reading of the Book of Esther from a scroll written by a scribe on parchment, give charity to at least two needy individuals, eat a three-cornered pastry resembling Haman’s hat, called “hamantaschen” and sit down to a festive meal to celebrate the event.

School kids dressed up in costumes arrived to their school ahead of the Jewish holiday of Purim, at the Gabrieli Carmel School in Tel Aviv, March 5, 2024.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.