Funny faces were around many Purims ago...

FUNNY faces were to be seen throughout the Jewish world week during Purim. But this week came proof that they abounded 2,400 years ago, too.

For this fragment of an ancient pottery jar — found during excavations in Jerusalem — with a crazy human face was made public.

It shows two wide open eyes, a nose, one ear and a small section of the corner of a mouth. And it dates back to the Persian period (4th-5th century BCE) when, of course, the Purim story was set.

The Israel Antiquities Association explained that the figure was known as Bes — the protector of households, especially mothers, women in childbirth and children.

He appeared as a kind of bearded dwarf with a large face, protruding eyes and tongue sticking out.

The figure was apparently intended to evoke joy and laughter.

Just like on Purim, in fact.

Snow joke for these incredible women

OUR sports page this week tells the story of how Blair Braverman completed the 1,000-mile Iditarod sled dog race last week.

But she is not the first Jewish woman to complete the Alaskan race.

Twenty-seven years before Braverman crossed the finish line on Sunday, Susan Cantor completed the gruelling course in 14 days, 1 hour, 42 minutes and 42 seconds. She finished in 37th place.

Braverman did the course a few hours faster and finished 36th.

Cantor, who lives in Chugiak, Alaska, says her husband Jim Cantor took part in 1991.

“I like to brag that I beat him by four days, and I think seven places,” she laughed.

Cantor is still deeply involved in the mushing community in Alaska; she’s on the board of directors at Chugiak Dog Mushers Association. Her children, now ages 21 and 24, raced with the junior mushers.

She also is involved in the Alaskan Jewish community: Cantor works as an event coordinator for Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage and is involved with Hadassah.

“Our synagogue once had fun with that, raffling off the opportunity to ride in a dogsled with a lifetime member of Hadassah!” she joked.

Braverman and Cantor are both incredible women.

Tragic... but happy

A STUDY has shown that 26 per cent of all Israeli households are poor or nearly poor.

In addition, Israelis live under constant threat of rockets — such as two Tel Aviv-bound missiles at the weekend. And, of course, terror attacks, like the one that has just cost two precious Israeli lives.

So isn’t it amazing that a UN report has judged Israel to be the 13th happiest country in the world.

What an amazing people we are!

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