The people of Israel recently celebrated Purim, the carnival festival that commemorates saving the Jewish people from genocide in Persia (now Iran) 2,500 years ago in a plot hatched by the evil premier, Haman, and his easily duped king.
The plot was thwarted by the Jewish Queen, Esther, and we were commanded to give charity, help the poor and have a big party. Costumes are a big part of the carnival and the streets are filled with little cowboys, Indians, spider men, Moses and Queen Esthers. It's delightful to watch.
After a big build-up, Jerusalem had its 5th Marathon race March 13 with an estimated 25,000 participants running everything from the full marathon to a 6 km race. About 2,000 runners came from out of the country to participate and our Mayor ran the half marathon. It was all very exciting if you don't have to go somewhere in a car. Every major artery was closed from 6 am until 3 pm and it caused bedlam. As someone said, "You just can't get there from here," and that was true in every direction.
The landscape is what draws the crowds. They pass landmarks engraved on everyone's psyche. From the heights of the Mount of Olives, down to Gethsemane, over to the Shrine of the Book (home of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and again down to Ein Kerem, the birthplace of John The Baptist. The scenes unfold as they labor up and down Jerusalem's famous hills.
Come join us next year.