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Hareidi Activists: Say No to Soldier Costumes

Will hareidi boys no longer dress up as IDF soldiers? Activists argue that popular costumes ‘won’t bring joy’ this Purim.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/12/2014, 9:04 AM

Child dressed as soldier (illustrative)
Child dressed as soldier (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hareidi boys may not dress up as IDF soldiers for Purim this year. Activists are working to encourage parents to forgo the popular soldier costumes, Yisrael Hayom reports.

They have cited the high tension over calls to require hareidi men to enlist in the army as a reason to avoid Purim costumes related to the Israeli military.

Rabbi Mordechai Blau, who heads the “Guards of Holiness and Education” organization, is among those who are pushing to keep hareidi children from dressing as Israeli soldiers this year. He explained his reasoning, saying, “The whole subject of dressing up on Purim is not some cheap imitation of Carnival in Brazil or Venice.

“It has depth, it says that at times when the Jews faced persecution G-d was ‘hiding,’” he continued, adding, “The masks are also meant to increase our joy.”

These days, he argued, with the tension over enlistment, “there is certainly no joy in anything connected to hareidi enlistment.

“Dressing up as a soldier at this point won’t increase joy, it will increase sorrow. There are children for whom ‘soldiers’ are likely to take on a frightening meaning, as the ones taking away their big brothers,” he argued.

Costumes related to the IDF are particular popular, Rabbi Blau noted. However, he argued, there are alternatives, “like costumes of an American or British soldier’s uniform.”

Rabbi Blau has previously courted controversy by advocating for gender-separate seating on public buses, and by calling on hareidi soldiers not to wear their uniforms when they return home.