Purim in Tel Aviv in the 1930s
Activity adapted from the Hebrew by Ayelet Gershoni
Short Description of Lesson
During this activity, students will discover how Purim was celebrated in Tel Aviv in the 1930s and compare these celebrations to modern Purim celebrations.
As an introduction to the activity, students will prepare a presentation showing how Purim is celebrated today in both Israel and their own communities and then present it to the class.
During the main activity, students will watch video footage of the Adloyada from the 1930s and define its main features. They will analyse two primary sources – the cover of a children’s magazine and a poster from Purim in the 1930s –and compare between Purim celebrations then and now.
Age Group: Primary School
digital resources or arts and crafts.
Primary Sources from the NLI Collections
Material, Equipment, and Preparations
Copies of the Worksheets
1. Getting Ready
This activity can be done as homework or in the preceding lesson.
Each student creates a presentation for a visitor from the future about modern-day Purim celebrations in Israel or their communities in public, educational, and family contexts. Examples of presentations can include:
Photographs, posters, leaflets, flyers, or newspaper articles
Slideshow including photos, movies, and other information
Drawing using programs such as Paint or AutoDraw
Comics/animation using websites such as Toontastic
Students upload their creations onto an LMS (Learning Management System) or class website or present them to the class in person.
2. Introduction and Movie
Choose two or three of the students’ presentations and use them to summarise the way Purim is celebrated today.
Explain to students that in this activity we will go back a few decades and see how Purim was celebrated in the first Hebrew city, years before the establishment of the State of Israel. In this activity we will compare between the celebrations then and now.
From 1912 onwards, the centre of the Purim festivities in Israel was the Adloyada parade in Tel Aviv. Adloyada is a named based on the Aramaic Talmudic phrase that: “a person is obligated to become intoxicated with wine on Purim until he is so intoxicated that ((עד דלא ידע how to distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai” (Megillah 7b).
Present the movie Adloyada in Tel Aviv filmed in 1932. (You can choose to show only certain parts.)
Divide the students into three groups and give each group one of the following tasks to be done while watching the movie:
Note the details that represent the happiness at the celebrations;
Note the details that are connected to the festival of Purim and the Megillah;
Note the details that are connected to Zionism (Israel and the first Hebrew city).
Discuss with the students that even eighty years ago, the main themes of the Purim celebrations in Tel Aviv were the same as today: happiness, costumes, and Megillat Esther. However, there were also some differences based on the historical context and the different technologies available at the time.
3. Reading poem, poster, and writing activity
Students should work in pairs and analyse both primary sources, using the worksheet to help. Questions 3 and 4 can be preceded by a class discussion.
We have seen that for decades the Purim celebrations in Israel have focused on happiness and costumes.
When comparing the documentation of Purim in the 1930s with celebrations today some differences emerge:
The parades are influenced by current events. For instance, in the 1930s there was a float connected to the Nazis (as seen in the video); today there are floats connected to the current political situation.
The majority of costumes in the 1930s were handmade; today they are store bought and usually imported from China.
The main Adloyada parade in the 1930s took place in Tel Aviv; today it has relocated to Holon.
In the 1930s there was a beauty competition to find a “Queen Esther” who participated in the parade; this custom no longer exists.
There are also some changes due to modern technology: in the 1930s horses and camels were prominent at the Adloyada. This is not as common today.
In the 1930s, most people arrived at the Adloyada on public transport, specifically the train, as private cars were less common than today.
However, despite the many years that have passed, it is interesting to note that much is the same; many of the costumes are similar and the Adloyada parade is still one of the highlights of the day in many places in Israel and the Jewish world.