This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘Judaism’

Some Awesome Purim Costumes

Posted by Avital Pinnick on March 8, 2012

Fiddler on the Roof

This “Fiddler on the Roof” costume has got to be the most original one I’ve seen in a while. The “legs” are a stuffed pair of pants. Even his violin was homemade. Maybe it’s a stage prop.

I was visiting a neighbour, when these children came by with mishloah manot (basket of food). The chips costume was made by the girl’s mother. The chip box was a cardboard carton hanging from straps on her shoulders, covered with coloured paper. The “chips” were blocks of yellow-painted foam, attached to the inside edge of the chip box. She also had foam blocks on her head.


I really, really want this chicken hat. It sits on top of the head with a tail in the back and legs over both ears. Sheryl bought it in the US. The writing on her shirt is the stamp that the Tnuva company puts on eggs. So clever!

Chicken hat

This is me, trying to decide which hat to wear. So hard to find the right hat for an outfit….

Which hat to wear?

And then there’s my son…. He came home from mechina (pre-army academy) today. This is not a wig. This is his real hair. A friend helped him bleach it with hydrogen peroxide.

My son's hair

I took this photo in the morning, just before they were about to start the megillah (Book of Esther). The megillah scroll is much smaller than a Torah scroll. Only the reader needs to have a kosher scroll; listeners can follow along with a printed booklet. It is traditional to unroll the entire scroll and then fold the folios upon themselves because the Book of Esther is referred to as a “letter” (see Est. 9:29; this was said to be the way that letters were read). The cylinder on the bima, above the books, is the megillah case.

Unrolling the megillah

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Hoshana Rabbah, 2011

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 19, 2011

Hoshana Rabbah, 2011

Hoshana Rabbah is the seventh day of Sukkot. At the morning service the men carry their lulavs and etrogs and circle the bima seven times. Each circuit honours one of the patriarchs.

I took these photos from the women’s gallery in the synagogue across the street (Pnei Shmuel, Mitzpeh Nevo, in Maale Adumim). Since very few women attend this ceremony, there was a lot of room to move around but I had to stick my lens through the curtains and around the decorative grillwork. My son is the long-haired one in the blue t-shirt (my husband went to an earlier service in the downstairs hall).

Hoshana rabbah, 2011

Hoshana rabbah, 2011

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Passover: Almost There!

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 18, 2011

I was hoping to post my Hula Valley photos, but things have gotten rather busy at home, with Passover starting tonight (Monday, April 18) and my mother-in-law staying with us (keeping her occupied and drinking enough water is a job in itself). So I’m posting a few of my daily photos of the preparations.

April 15: Cupboards clean, marked, and stocked.ย The whiteboard markers have been so useful, because later I marked what was where (meat cutlery, milk cutlery, pans, etc.). It’s great because not everything is in its usual place and because it makes it easier for my mother-in-law to find a spoon when she wants a cup of tea. My kitchen doesn’t look very attractive but it makes it a lot easier to tell my son or husband where to unload the shopping.

Passover countdown

April 16: Sinks and counter kashered after Shabbat. That’s when we discovered that the electric urn we use to keep water hot over Shabbat and Yom Tov died. Well, better before the holiday than during it! Another item on the shopping list….

Freshly kashered drain

April 17: We love close to the local mikveh (that’s our flat on the top of the building on the left, in the background). It gets really noisy when they set up the stands for kashering dishes in our neighbourhood. All day long you hear blow torches, boiling water, clattering dishes, and loud hassidic or Sephardi music (can’t really blame them — it’s a terrible job in brutally hot weather). People bring dishes to switch over to Passover by boiling or burning with a torch. New dishes, not made in Israel, are dipped in the mikveh (that’s what the man is doing at the top of the short flight of stairs on the right). The weather has been very hot for the past couple days. It’s supposed to start cooling tomorrow.

Preparing dishes for Passover

April 18: Day of the seder. We burn leftover chametz (leavened food, like bread, cereals) in the morning. What a reek. I scalded my right thumb this morning kashering the microwave but it’s feeling a little better now. I can type on a keyboard but focusing my camera for this photo was a challenge because I’d set up my camera for back-button focusing. There is an adult supervising to make sure the chametz gets burned.

Burning Chametz (leavened foods)

Well, time to get lunch started. I’m happy to report that this year I managed to get proper meals served regularly and didn’t order in a single pizza or eat outside the house! Seder cooking is done.

I’m getting tired of potatoes…. Check with me in a week and I’ll be whining about how tired I am of matzah. ๐Ÿ™‚

Everyone, have a kosher and happy Passover!

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Torah Scroll Dedication

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 26, 2010

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

Yesterday I was on my way home from work. Suddenly the minibus stopped because a crowd was blocking the street. I had to walk down the block but I stopped to take few photos of the event. The Torah scroll was being dedicated by the Moroccan synagogue in our neighbourhood. It takes about a year of full-time work for a scribe to write a scroll. When it’s finished, there’s a big celebration. The scroll is likened to a bride, and I’ve seen processions in which the scroll was carried under a chuppah.

There was quite a crowd of men and boys dancing around the man carrying the scroll (it gets handed around and is carried down by different men). I managed to get a good photo of the scroll in its silver-covered case, one of the few shots that I managed to take in sunlight. Most of the street is lined with apartment buildings, which cast long shadows over the street.

The photo below was greatly cropped, so I rendered it as black/white to offset the grainy appearance. A soldier lifts up his young daughter so that she can kiss the scroll.

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

Ever have the feeling that everyone is staring at you?!! ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

I always try to find a high place to stand when photographing a crowd. I ran up a flight of steps and was standing on the landing outside the flat of Rabbi Nahum Rabinovich, the head of the Birkat Moshe Yeshiva and a prominent rabbi (he has his own Wikipedia entry). While I was taking the photos, the rabbi came out to watch, so they were actually looking at him. I moved to one side so that he could go down the stairs to the circle of dancing teenage boys.

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

They brought the Torah scroll over to him. I remained on the landing for a few minutes and took these photos.

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

Since the Torah scroll is like a bride, she is joined at some point by her “sisters,” the other Torah scrolls from that synagogue. At this point there were no staircases for me to get a good high view and it was getting dark but I managed to take this photo. (The staircase to the women’s section of the Pnei Shmuel synagogue doesn’t have enough room to manoeuver a camera and it’s above a large porch. My balcony used to be a good place to take photos of the street in front of the synagogue but the trees have grown high enough to block the view.)

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

This collection wouldn’t be complete without a photo of the outlandish vans that provide the music at these events. The lights blink, music blares from loudspeakers, and sometimes steam or smoke pours out of the top (it’s meant to be a special effect, not a mechanical malfunction). They really are something to see. This is actually a rather restrained version of this type of vehicle. I’ve seen some that are much larger. The bulbous lights on top are meant to represent the finials or bells (“rimonim”) decorating the handles of a Torah scroll. This photo was taken from my balcony. It was about the only thing I could photograph above the trees.

Hakhnasat Sefer Torah

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