Purim in Tel Aviv, 1936
An illustration and poem from a children’s newspaper showing a Purim procession in Tel Aviv, printed in Warsaw in Hebrew on March 8, , 1936. The poem was written by Anda Pinkerfeld Amir (1902-1981), an Israeli poet and author who lived in Tel Aviv at the time, and describes the streets of Tel Aviv during the Adloyada (Purim parade) and the festive carnival atmosphere in the city. She depicts the costumes which are all of animals: "tigers and lions, donkeys and camels, rabbits and deer, and even me, the bear." Above the poem is an illustration of the Adloyada. The artist's name does not appear, and it is possible that the illustration was taken from another source (particularly as it shows the date to be Purim 5693 ).
The Adloyada tradition began in 1912 in the early days of Tel Aviv. In the 1930s, it was decided that each Adloyada should have a theme; the theme here being the zoo, as is apparent from the poem. The Adloyada tradition died out during World War II but was renewed in 1955. At the end of the 1960s, the parade was moved from Tel Aviv to the neighbouring city of Holon.
The poem was printed in the newspaper Olami HaKatan, a Zionist children's newspaper that was published in Warsaw from 1936-1939. The newspaper concentrated on events in Eretz Israel, central Zionist figures, and Hebrew culture. The entire newspaper was written in Hebrew and included stories, songs, jokes, and letters.
The entire street is like a zoo:
Tigers and lions,
Donkeys and camels,
Rabbits and deer;
And even me, the bear.
I will go and growl in the street
And whoever I recognize
I will quickly jump and eat him up.
No face without a mask!
Purim! All the city is happy!
This source could be used in Hebrew lessons; it is written in easy Hebrew so students could read and analyse the poem. It could also be used as part of a larger unit on Hebrew children's literature. In Jewish History, it could be used to teach about the history of Zionism in Warsaw, Hebrew newspapers, or life in Israel during the British Mandate.
What is the poem about? Describe the subject matter in one or two sentences.
Where did the Purim parade take place?
Which animal costumes appear in the poem?
What is the purpose of wearing a costume?
How is it used in the poem?
What psychological needs are addressed by wearing a costume?
What "costumes" exist in nature? What are they used for?
Who wore a costume in the Bible? Who wore a costume in other literary, mythological, or historical sources?
What is the connection between the poem and the illustration?
This poem was printed in a Jewish children’s newspaper in Warsaw in 1936.
Were there many Jewish children living in Warsaw at this time? Do you think that these children understood Hebrew and could understand the poem?
What is likely to have happened to these children over the next few years?
This poem tells us about an Adloyada – a traditional Purim parade.
When did this tradition begin? How has the parade evolved over the years? Where and when does the Adloyada currently take place?
How would you categorize the Purim costumes in Tel Aviv in 1936?
What costumes are popular today? What do you think we can learn from the differences?
Where else in the world are there similar parades and what is the history behind them?
Find the similarities and differences between these parades and the traditional Purim parade.
The poem demands that everyone should wear a mask: "No face without a mask!"
What do you think about this? Do you agree that everyone should dress up at Purim?
Who is the poet Anda Pinkerfeld Amir?
Compare this poem to other poems she wrote.
Look at this picture of children in costumes at the Tel Aviv Adloyada in 1926. How does it compare to the description of the Adloyada in the poem and the drawing?