My first Adloyada

March 12, 2009 - 10:32 AM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Holidays 

Modiin AdloyadaEarlier in the week I attended my local Purim Parade (Adloyada – See Rachel’s always excellent and entertaining Nostalgia Sunday piece here). I don’t like parades. Never got them and standing on the side of the road, often in extreme weather, as sub-mediocre bands and masses of children waving walk by isn’t exactly how I like to spend my mornings. Yes, I’m a cynic. Have been for quite some time now. But I am willing to concede that witnessing life through my young daughter’s eyes is starting to lift the veil a bit and is having, ahem, a somewhat profound effect on me.

As we approached the crowd my daughter, dressed as a bumblebee, grew visibly excited with a highly curious “I don’t know what’s going on here” look. My city’s parade is not a glamorous affair. Most of the marchers are from local schools, clubs and sports teams. This didn’t stop her from demonstrating her excitement. “Boys!” she exclaimed as a group of young basketball players ran by dribbling. “Dancing!” she screamed as one of the local dance troupes pranced along as she did a little spin of her own. “Mah Zeh! (Hebrew for “what’s that?”) she asked as a guy dressed in a horrible Shrek costume with his underwear hanging out walked bye.

The Democratic School of Modi’in marched in Gilad Shalit t-shirts and carried banners promoting awareness that even on this happy and celebratory day, Shilat is still in captivity. Thankfully, my little bumblebee didn’t ask about them, because honestly, I wouldn’t know what to say.

Nostalgia Sunday on Tuesday – Adloyada

agadat_queen_estherApologies for the delay in posting; this was due to circumstances far beyond my control. Whew. Okay. A moment before the Purim holiday ends, let’s take a look at days gone by, in particular the Adloyada parade.

“Adloyada” is a bastardization of the phrase “ad lo yada” or “unable to differentiate”, referring to the Purim tradition of drinking until one is unable to tell the difference between evil Haman and good Mordechai. The parade was instituted in 1912, in Tel Aviv, the first modern Jewish city, by a teacher at the Herzliya Gymnasium high school and became the stomping ground for Hevre Trask (“the noisy folks”), a band of merrymaking bohemians.

In the 1920s, the event had its profile raised by dancer-choreographer and bon vivant Baruch Agadati. Here he is, the crown prince of of Tel Aviv night life in the 1920s, pictured with Zippora Zabari, winner of the “Queen Esther” beauty contest for 1928.

And another Purim lovely:

And here’s a picture of the parade itself, which was famous for its floats.

It had the support of Mayor Meir Dizengoff. This costume parodied his well-known penchant for riding around town on a horse.

At the end of the 1920s, a committee of artists, poets, architects and theater people was established with the stated goal of giving the Adloyada a higher educational and artistic tone, and it became something of an establishment tool.


Adloyada floats never shied away from politics, such as the 1926 coffin burying the British Mandate, and the 1934 anti-Nazism float. The event ceased activity in 1936 but after it was reestablished in the 1950s, the topical subjects continued. Here’s Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser and David Ben-Gurion, acting out a prime ministerial summit that never happened in reality… as far as we know…


The Adloyada shut down, once again, in the 1970s and was revived, once again in the early 1980s by the Sheinkin avant garde, led by a stellar performance artist, the late Danny Zakheim. This time, the tone was different and probably more like that of the original Adloyada of the 1920s – a punk street fair bacchanal that went on for days. Here’s Mayor Shlomo Lahat venturing into unknown territory.


There are a few parades today calling themselves Adloyada. Holon – a sleepy suburb with ambitions to become Israel’s new center of the visual arts – has apparently been deemed the location for the national Adloyada. But the real deal has been and always will be Tel Aviv. It’s only a matter of time before the Adloyada comes back home.


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