Purim in Jerusalem, 1957
This is an advertisement published by the Jerusalem municipality promoting the 1957 Jerusalem Adloyada (Purim parade).
The design includes a lion with a crown riding a hobby horse. In the background are the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The lion and the wall in this poster are taken from the official emblem of Jerusalem, which was approved by the municipality in 1950. The lion represents the tribe and kingdom of Judah whose capital was Jerusalem. This representation is based on Jacob's blessing to his son Judah towards the end of his life:
A cub [and] a grown lion is Judah. From the prey, my son, you withdrew. He crouched, rested like a lion, and like a lion, who will rouse him? (Bereshit 39:9)
The official emblem of Jerusalem was created by a team led by Eliyahu Koren, who went on to found the publishing house Koren Publishing.
It is important to note that this poster was printed in 1957 when the Old City was under Jordanian rule and Jews had no access to the Old City and its walls. The inclusion of the walls in the symbol of the city reflected the hope and dream of reunification. Ten years later, following the Six-Day War, Jews once again returned to the Old City, and the city was officially unified.
Another interesting detail is the date of the poster. The Purim celebrations, according to this poster, took place on the 15th Adar, while Purim is usually celebrated the previous day, on the 14th. This discrepancy is due to the fact that in Jerusalem Purim is actually celebrated a day later on what is called Shushan Purim. The 14th Adar is the day that the Jews living in unwalled cities ceased fighting their enemies. However, in Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire, the fighting lasted an extra day, ending only on the 15th. As a result, the Jews living in Shushan and other walled cities in the Diaspora – such as Jerusalem – celebrate Purim a day later to this very day.
Jewish Studies teacher can use this resource to teach about the emblem of Jerusalem and the lion motif throughout Jewish history. This poster can also be shown when discussing Jacob’s blessings to his sons, including Judah. This poster can be used in the run-up to Purim to present how Purim is celebrated in Israel in general and, more specifically, why Purim is celebrated on a different date in Jerusalem.
Jewish History teachers can use this poster when teaching about the years 1948-1967, the period when Jerusalem was divided, and the public perception of the Old City at the time.
Art or Design teachers can use this as an example of posters created to advertise public events and their necessary elements.
Which animal is the focus of this poster?
What is the lion doing?
What is behind the lion?
What is the lion holding in its paw?
What event is this poster advertising?
When was this poster printed?
What was the Hebrew date of the event?
Reading Between the Lines
Why is a lion used as the main image in this design?
Why has the designer featured a wall behind the lion?
Why did this Purim event occur on the 15th Adar and not on the official date of Purim, 14th Adar?
This poster was printed in 1957.
What was the political situation in Jerusalem at the time?
What was the status of the Old City?
What is, therefore, interesting about the design of the poster?
How can you explain this graphic decision?
What does it tell us about the ties of the Jewish population to the Old City?
What was the Adloyada and why was it so popular?
Why was the lion chosen as Jerusalem’s symbol?
Are there still Adloyada parades in Jerusalem?
What is the emblem of your city?
What is the emblem based on?
Do you think it is important for a city to have its own emblem? Why?
How do you celebrate Purim?
Do you celebrate Shushan Purim?
Design a poster for a Purim celebration in your city using your city’s emblem. What images have you used and why?