Purim in Israel is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.
Purim in Israel is celebrated on the 14th of the Jewish month of Adar, which usually corresponds to the middle of March, this year, though, it fells on February 27. Despite the gruesome overtones of the holiday, nowadays Purim is, actually, a merry and joyful festival, featuring costumed parades and family feasts with much eating and drinking. Two other principal Purim customs are giving Purim gift baskets brimming with food to friends and gifts of charity to the poor. The charity custom prescribes that everyone – rich and poor – should give the same amount of charity, reminding that every person has an equally crucial role in the destiny of the Jewish people. The custom of giving Purim gourmet baskets to friends and family, known as Mishloach Manot or “sending portions”, prescribes that the Purim basket should contain two different types of ready to eat food. There are two rationales behind this custom. The first one is practical: to ensure that everyone has enough food to enjoy the Purim feast. The second reason for giving Purim gift baskets to Israel is more veiled: to increase the feelings of friendship and love. Harkening back to Haman’s evil plot to destroy the Jews, the gift giving custom is an attempt to perennially repair that rift.
If you also want to experience the joy of giving gift baskets on Purim to Israel, start with making a list of all your friends, neighbors, family members, colleagues and business associates you would like to congratulate. Then think about what kind of a Purim gift basket you want to send. A traditional Purim gift basket to Israel contains a small bottle of grape juice, candies, dried fruits and nuts and hamantashen. The traditional Purim pastry, a hamantashen (or Oznei Haman, as it is called in Hebrew) is a three cornered cookie stuffed with poppy seed or jam.
But there’s really no reason to get stuck in standard components for your Purim gift basket. You can go thematic and make a package up two or more food items that go together to form a fun theme. Italian gift basket or any other gourmet basket is a good choice. Sweet basket is ideal for children, while adults may want something a bit more adventuresome like spirits or wine basket.
Think creative and fun and you are sure to give the best Purim gift basket to Israel ever!