Happy Children in the Desert

I started this blog a year ago with photos from the ultra orthodox neighborhood Mea Shearim in Jerusalem. This year we this blog celebrates a very different type of Purim.

The High School for Environmental Studies  in Midreshet Ben Gurion (Sde Boker) in the Negev is one of the most amazing schools one can imagine. It is a boarding school and a kind of never never land. Eran my older son graduated from this school two years ago and Roi my younger son just joined the school this year. The highlight of the annual program, which is packed with exciting educational activities, is the Purim parade – the Adloyada. Students start to prepare for this event many weeks in advance. Each class choses a subject and plans several huge “floats” made of recycled stuff that represent this subject. This year the subjects were Dwarfs (year 9), Indians (year 10), Time (year 11) and Crazy (year 12). In addition the student prepare personal costumes and dances for the parade.

We arrived two days before the parade to experience the frenzy of preparations and take part in them. The students worked night and day for many weeks but as usual the preparations were still in top gear.

Sde Boker is on the Negev plateau and the weather can be anything from scorching heat (as experienced during one of the recent parades) to near freezing and pouring rain. This year Israel experienced an unprecedented draught, which for some reason broke just before purim. Preparations were thus underway plodding in deep mud and the floats had to be constantly covered and uncovered to protect them from torrential rain.

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Here we can see how students put final, and not so final, touches to some of the sculptures.

Cellotaping

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Covering with papier-mâché

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Painting

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And carrying the floats through the mud to the start point.

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As we woke up on the day before the parade, we heard that Nahal Zin, the huge canyon next to the school is experiencing a monumental flash flood. We drove thus to the closest vantage point to witness and photograph this impressive event.

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Dry falls, like the Divshon fall, that feed into this canyon came to life.

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From a different vantage point a few kilometers up the road it was possible get very close to the main fall.

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And to overlook the massive canyon and the vulture nesting sites.

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Some of the floats were finished, as usuall, in the early hours just before the great day. But on the morning of the parade all the floats were set to go in absolutely glorious weather.

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The excited children posed for group photos and eagerly awaited the marching orders.

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Meanwhile thousands of spectators that came from all over Israel to view this special annual event gathered along the streets where the parade was set to pass.

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Exactly at ten the kids started to march and dance.

First came the Indians of year eleven:

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Next the dwarfes of year nine:

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Followed by the “time” of year ten_MG_9103

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And finally the crazy year twelve

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The floats and childre danced circled the Midrasha twice for two hours until the were completely exhausted.

The day after the parade the floats are all broken up and recycled. Some parts, like this totem which is disassembled here are auctioned to the audience.

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This is an opportunity to thank everybody who enable this wonderful event, look after our children and devotedly educate them the year round:

Assa the headmaster and Adina the “mother” of year 9

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Sivan the class teacher of year 9

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Inbal the  guide of year 9

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And Tal their junior guide

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The desert is not only noisy events like floods and parades. In fact it is a ver seren place and while driving back home we visited the Yeruham Irises which are just now now in full bloom.

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