Pourim Banquet in Jerusalem
This photo depicts a banquet seen in a religious school during the Purim celebrations in the ultra religious neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem on march 2nd 2018. Purim commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, who was planning to kill all the Jews. This took place in the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Ester in Hebrew).
On this special day celebrated all around Israel as a huge festival (costumes and parties), religious people have to fulfill a few missions such as charity to the poor, a banquet and the duty to get drunk until you’re won’t be able to distinguish right from wrong.
Mea Shearim is a very closed neighborhood, not easy to access and to photograph, where religious people lived apart from the rest of the israeli society in a very strong community life. Ultra orthodox people are now almost one million people in Israel. Most of them are really poor because they are not working and they spend all day studying the Bible. The fecundity rate is huge, 6.9 per women and the sexual segregation is really strong. The community, due to its growing number and to the right wing government gained a lot of political power theses last years in the country bringing more and more religious views to the israeli democracy.
Author: Sébastien Leban is an independent French photojournalist born in 1987. He grew up in Lorraine in a mining and steel basin. The proletarian and laborious world that surrounded him will influence the different subjects he addresses. He worked on a first project on his hometown of Florange then interested in Roma people from Romania. Self-taught, he moved to Israel in 2013 to cover a rich and intense area. Back in Paris after two years in the Middle East, he continues to document the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an approach he wants sensitive and human. The objective: to probe the two companies that have been opposing for nearly 70 years through subjects such as conscientious objectors in the Israeli army, the energy problems in Gaza, the African refugees in Tel Aviv or the settlers living in the West Bank. His work revolves around social and societal themes that are dear to him. The subject presented here is based on the components set out and is part of a new problem, that of climate change and its direct impact on the population. Sébastien Leban is a member of the association of photographers Divergence and regularly works in order for several titles like Le Monde, L'Obs, Le Point, Paris Match, L'Equipe Magazine, Grazia, Le Parisien Week-End, etc.