Thursday, March 4, 2010

Purim Day in Mitzpe Ramon

Again, more megillah readings than you could shake a grager at. I went to the Chabad shul, not least of which reason was because they started davening at 8:30 AM, a most civilized time for me. The Chabad shul in Mitzpe Ramon is a small "L"-shaped room, with a room behind the long leg of the "L" for women and children. Ok, so it's basically set up for men. Most of the regular congregants are Russian, but Rabbi Slonim always has many bochrim who visit for holidays and Shabbat. Purim was no exception.

Davening at Chabad on Purim morning

After the megillah reading Rabbi Slonim and some of the bochrim went to Nafha prison outside of Mitzpe Ramon to read the megillah for the 50 or so Jews there. Nafha is one of Israel's high security prisons and mostly holds Palestinian terrorists, but Rabbi Slonim told me that Jewish prisoners who are hard cases are put there as well. I believe Yigal Amir, Yitzchak Rabin's assassin is held there, so Rabbi Slonim may have read the megillah for him as well.

Rabbi Slonim set up a table at the city center to do a public megillah reading, especially for the Israeli soldiers who come through town. Sunday is the busiest day for them, since that is when they return to base from their Shabbos leave, and since Purim was on Sunday this year, there were hundreds and hundreds who passed through town. Purim clowns were in attendance, and shalloch manos was distributed to the troops. It is always interesting to me to see all of the women in uniform. Israel has a universal service requirement for both men and women. Some of the women are just girls and so slight it looks like they might not have the strength to lift their big boots. But they do, and they carry M-16s, too.

IDF soldires in Mitzpe Ramon on Purim day

 Many hundreds of soldiers pass through Mitzpe Ramon on a Sunday

Rabbi Slonim danced with the soldiers throughout the day and before starting the reading of the megillah in the town center.
Dancing with the IDF (Israeli Defense Force)

Then the megillah was read.

Rabbi Slonim reads the megillah in the town center for Purim

 Clowning around on Purim

                             Dancing with Tzahal

Latter in the day Rabbi Slonim held a large Purim Seudah at the new Chabad house, but we had already signed up to do our own.

However, no Purim is complete without drinking "ad sheloh yadeh", until you don't know the difference between "blessed is Mordechai" and "cursed is Haman".

               Yeshivah bochers in Mitzpe Ramon

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