Foto Friday – Elyssa Frank’s Undercover Purim
Photographer Elyssa Frank is endlessly curious and always up for a challenge. Last week, she decided — with the enthusiasm characteristic of her MADEINISRAEL brand — to enter Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood and document the Purim celebrations going on in what appears, to most Israelis, to be a highly closed community.
A quick description of Mea Shearim, courtesy of Wikipedia: “Today, Mea Shearim remains an insulated neighborhood in the heart of Jerusalem. With its overwhelmingly Haredi population, the streets retain the flavor of an East European shtetl. Life revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish texts. Traditions in dress may include black frock coats and black or fur-trimmed hats for men (although there are many other clothing styles, depending on the religious sub-group to which they belong), and long-sleeved, modest clothing for women. In some groups, the women wear thick black stockings all year long, including summer. Married women wear a variety of headcoverings, from wigs to headscarves. The men have beards and some grow long sidecurls, called peyos… “Modesty” posters in Hebrew and English are hung at every entrance to Mea Shearim. When visiting the neighborhood, women and girls are asked to wear what is deemed to be modest dress…”
Dressed in a high-necked white bridal gown, fright wig and glam sunglasses — so as to fit in with the revelers — Frank wandered down the main drag of this ultra-Orthodox neighborhood, taking pictures on the sly…
And found costume and color everywhere…
Later in the day, Frank crossed tracks and entered the frenzy of Purim in downtown Jerusalem. One of this year’s most topical costumes for men: the half-IDF soldier, half-yeshiva boy “Share the Burden” [of army service] look.
At dusk, it was time to attend a Machane Yehuda street party.
That lasted well into the Jerusalem night!