Yulia Karra
March 21

With this year’s Purim fast approaching, the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) has released rare footage from the Jewish holiday celebrations during the British Mandate era and the early years of the state of Israel.

The photos show the carnival procession in Jerusalem, including elaborate costumes, colorful decorations and hundreds of locals flooding the streets. 

The Adloyada Purim carnival in Jerusalem, 1957. Photo by Sima Zelig/ KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The Adloyada Purim carnival in Jerusalem, 1957. Photo by Sima Zelig/ KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The archive photos also show the Jewish community celebrating Purim in Egypt and Germany. The local Jewish children are seen dressed as the iconic KKL-JNF “Blue Box,” which features a map of Israel against a blue and white background. 

A girl dressed up as the KKL-JNF Blue Box on Purim, Germany, 1950. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Photo Archive
A girl dressed up as the KKL-JNF Blue Box on Purim, Germany, 1950. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The released KKL-JNF footage also includes a 1959 documentary film “Rendezvous with Youth,” created by Lazar Donner. The film depicts not only Purim celebrations, but also life in Israel in its infancy.

Adloyada celebrations in Jerusalem, 1957. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Adloyada celebrations in Jerusalem, 1957. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Photo Archive

The director of the KKL-JNF Archives, Efrat Sinai, said it was “moving” to see how passionate the Jewish community was about celebrating the holiday nearly a century ago. 

“We are proud to present a glimpse of the Purim holiday joy as captured through the lenses of the cameras of KKL-JNF photographers and members of Jewish communities in the Diaspora,” Sinai said. “Although the photos were taken in black and white, you can immediately feel the festive atmosphere and the dedication in preparing the costumes, all of which were handmade.”

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