Friday, April 11, 2014

Celebrating Passover in the Holy Land 100 Years Ago

"National Passover Party" in Rehovot, 1900.  The march of the students of
the Gymnasium (school) in Jaffa. (Harvard/Central Zionist Archives)

Passover in Israel is marked by two weeks of school holidays, tourist visits, hikes into nature preserves, and special programs at museums, amusement parks, and theaters.

So it was 100 years ago, as well.

Three women riding on a camel at Passover celebration in Rehovot
(Harvard Library/Central Zionist Archives, 1912)
Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv and established in 1890, was the site of a national fair during Passover in the early 20th century.  Photographs and even an early film show Jews flocking to the town for amusement and sports competition.  Note the Turkish flag in the video.

The same photo of three women riding on a camel appears elsewhere in the Harvard Library as "Visitors at the camel and donkey show in Rehovot," dated from the 1920s. The 1912 date is probably more accurate and explains the armed guard -- possibly Turkish.  Rehovot was the target of  attacks by Arab marauders in the early 20th century.

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