Chalk one up for modern Victoria kids stopping traffic to celebrate an ancient Hebrew victory.
For the first time in ages, as many as 100 Jewish youth and some extroverted adults will march for several blocks up Pandora Avenue on Sunday in a Purim parade that's the closest thing to a Jewish Mardi Gras.
Believed to be the only outdoor Purim parade in Canada, it celebrates the escape of the Jews from extermination at the hands of the Persians nearly 2,400 years ago thanks to the bravery of Esther.
"It's about joy, pride, survival," said Rabbi Harry Brechner of Congregation Emanu-El.
Purim is also a time when Jews can let loose with their Judaism. "Absolutely," said Brechner, who muses about dressing up as Nacho Libre, the Mexican wrestler played by Jack Black in the comic movie of the same name. "It's a time for jokes and humour and mocking and not taking oneself seriously and going as far to the edge as you can."
While hundreds of synagogues across Canada will hold indoor festivities, Victoria's is the only outdoor parade Jewish officials across Canada had heard of. And several were surprised.
"Wow," said Rabbi Rav Baruch Frydman-Kohl of Beth Tzedec, the largest synagogue in Toronto.
"It was really clear to the kids that their grandparents couldn't do this," said Brechner. "Still, I have older members of the congregation who are questioning, 'Do we really want to do that -- it's better to say low-profile.' "
He believes that real security is to be out there and share who you are with the community.
The parade will be boisterous -- with dancing accompanied by the Yiddish Columbia Orkestra and its fusion of klezmer and Dixieland music, and small kids riding a horse-drawn carriage.
Brechner hopes the community will check it out and "all the different expressions of Jewish life in the city will come together, not just Congregation Emanu-El.
"There's a lot of partying in the Esther story. There's a joke: 'They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat.' "
Where: From the green space at Pandora Avenue and Cook Street, along Pandora to the synagogue of Congregation Temple Emanu-El at Pandora and Blanshard Street. The street will be closed to traffic from 10-10:30 a.m.
When: 10-10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 4. (Rest of article, see[url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/life/story.html?id=9fa1ba97-9cc1-4822-aca4-a7e8479744b6&p=2:c3de2]here[/url:c3de2].)
Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:41 PM
Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:48 PM
Good for the kids
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:54 PM
Posted 02 March 2007 - 10:04 PM
I learned about Purim from a good friend in Newfoundland... mid 80's...
She also helped me trim the first X-mas tree that I had in the first house of my own..
Hope many people enjoy the Purim Parade...
Posted 02 March 2007 - 10:42 PM
That's Victoria's problem--not enough Jews.
-City of Victoria website, 2009
Posted 03 March 2007 - 12:33 PM
But ~50 years later, this didn't prevent Victorians from [url=http://digitalgroup.ca/jhs/Pages/SecondWave_Sec_3.htm:974e4]burning down the store[/url:974e4] of one of the city's most prominent Jews, Simon Leiser, whose family was of German descent. That last bit counted heavily against him in World War I: that's when the torching of the warehouse happened, which was a populist retaliation for the unprovoked German submarine attack on the civilian ship Lusitania. The ship had 14 Victoria residents on board, who died when the Lusitania went down. The subsequent anti-German riots also affected the Kaiserhof Hotel, owned by Simon's brother Max Leiser. He had already in 1914 changed its name (to Blanshard Hotel) to erase the German connection, since it can't have helped business to have an establishment named after the Kaiser. One could imagine that being German and Jewish in a British and predominantly Christian / Anglican provincial city after WWI could be uncomfortable. It probably made moving to a bigger, potentially more urbane place (Vancouver, anyone?) attractive. Further to that, it must have made economic sense to do so, as Victoria moved to the periphery in terms of trade and business. As for WWII and the Shoa, the decimation of Jews by Germans... Well, there are plenty of demons, and maybe a parade is just what's needed to call a better spirit into being.
Simon Leiser's family home is now apartments (it's at 1005 St.Charles Street -- scroll down on [url=http://rockland.bc.ca/walking.html:974e4]this page[/url:974e4]. The Leiser Warehouse is on lower Yates (is it part of the rehabilitation going on there?). The Kaiserhof Hotel/ Blanshard Hotel (also known as the Max Leiser Building) is opposite the Juliet, on the SW corner of Blanshard & Johnson. Beergarden fans note: the space facing Blanshard, between the Carnegie Building (library) and the Blanshard Hotel, used to be a beer garden... (See [url=http://www.bchistory.ca/PDFs/363summer.pdf:974e4]this PDF[/url:974e4] (BC Historical News, v.36, no.3, Summer 2003) for more info.)
Posted 03 March 2007 - 01:08 PM
Presumably the beergarden was behind this fence?
-City of Victoria website, 2009
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