Purim in Jerusalem, 1957
This is an advertisement printed by the Jerusalem municipality in 1957 for the Adeloyada, the annual Purim parade through the city. This colourful poster shows a lion happily riding a hobby horse in front of the ancient city walls of Jerusalem.
The lion here alludes to the Lion of Judah, the symbol of the city of Jerusalem. This symbol derives from the ancient symbol of the tribe of Judah, following Jacob’s blessing to his son Judah: “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) Later, the lion became the symbol of the Kingdom of Judah, of which Jerusalem was the capital also in ancient times. This official emblem of Jerusalem, approved by the municipality in 1950, was created by a team led by Eliyahu Koren, founder of the Koren Publishing company.
Interestingly, the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem are featured in the background of the design, despite the fact that at that time, ten years before the Six-Day War, the Old City was ruled by the Jordanians and Jews were not allowed to visit. This design reflects Jewish feelings towards the Old City, even at a time when Jews could not actually access the area.
Another interesting feature of this poster is the date. The parade was due to take place on Adar 15 and not Adar 14 when Purim is usually celebrated. This is the date that Purim is celebrated in walled cities such as Jerusalem. This special date is called Shushan Purim, since fighting in the walled city of Shushan continued also on the 15th day of Adar.
Adloyada parades take place in many places in Israel and the Jewish world. The first Adloyada took place in Tel Aviv in 1912 and was a mass event attracting many people to the city. The name of the parade derives from the Talmudic saying that one should rejoice and drink on Purim “until one no longer knows [ עד דלא ידע ad delo yadah] the difference between Blessed be Mordechai and Cursed be Haman.” The parades include floats and giant puppets and the participants are all in fancy dress. The themes vary from the more traditional, including figures from the Purim story, to contemporary and sometimes even political themes.
Connection to Parashat Balak
In this parasha Balak, the king of Moab, asks Balaam to curse the Israelites after he sees them defeat various nations in battle. However, Balaam ends up blessing the Jewish People and stating: “Behold! The people will arise like a lion cub and raise itself like a lion.” According to one commentator, this was a prediction that Israel would conquer the land like a young lion and thereafter attain even greater strength.
Jewish Studies teachers can use this poster when teaching about the traditions of Purim and specifically about Shushan Purim. It can also be used when teaching about the tribe of Judah and the blessing that Judah received from Jacob comparing him to a lion. This poster is also an example of the deep Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Jewish History teachers can use this resource when discussing the symbol of Jerusalem and the lion motif over the years.
Art or Design teachers can use this poster to explore the elements that go into advertising and marketing materials.
Which animal is the focus of this poster?
What is it doing?
What is its general demeanour?
What is it holding in its hand?
What is pictured in the background?
What event is being advertised in this poster?
When was this poster published?
Reading Between the Lines
Why is the main character a lion?
What is its connection to Jerusalem?
The design of the poster includes the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Who ruled the Old City at the time the poster was published?
What does the fact that the walls of the Old City appear in a poster printed at this specific time tell us about the Jewish connection to Jerusalem?
The Purim parade took place on Adar 15.
Why do you think this parade took place on that date?
What is an Adloyada?
Why is it called this?
What festive elements are usually found at an Adeloyada?
Do you celebrate Purim on Adar 14 or 15?
How do you celebrate Purim?
Does your community hold an Adeloyada parade?
If so, describe the event?
If not, search for photographs from Adeloyada parades around the world and describe the festivities.
Design a poster for an Adloyada parade which includes a reference to your city’s emblem.
Plan an Adloyada float for the coming Purim.
What theme will you use? A traditional theme or a theme referring to modern events or culture?
How will you create the float and the costumes?
Draw an outline of your ideas.