By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO — In nearly every costume imaginable, including some Esthers and Mordechais, members and friends of Tifereth Israel Synagogue on March 4 held a Purim carnival, featuring a wide variety of games, prizes, activities and, of course, hamantaschen, looking forward to the joyous holiday that will be officially celebrated March 7 and 8.
“Purim is a time for festivity and a time to celebrate and let one’s hair down, so this carnival has become traditional,” said Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal, the Conservative congregation’s spiritual leader. “In Israel they call them ad lo yadah, and it comes from the Talmud where it says you are supposed to consume enough alcohol not to know the difference (ad lo yadah) between ‘Blessed be Mordechai’ and ‘Cursed be Haman.'”
There’s only one requirement at a Purim carnival, Rosenthal instructed: “Having a good time!”
And that was an instruction children and their respective responsible adults had no difficulty following, even though no alcohol was served. There were numerous opportunities to win prizes at games that were geared to gurantee every contestant’s success.
These included a tossing rings onto a stick; tossing bean bags through holes in wooden posters of three main characters in the Book of Esther — Haman, Esther and King Ahashuerus; bowling with a large ball; throwing a basketball through a low hoop; a hole-in-one golf chance; racing toy cars; rolling balls down an incline and trying to get scores under 10 or over 20; tossing balls into different compartments; tossing balls into different cups; playing air hockey and rolling a skee ball.
There were also such activities as a combination bungee jump-trampoline; balloon twisting, fingernail painting, and a photo booth, which produced souvenirs for the congregation’s Silverman Pre-School. A demonstration of martial arts was given on stage by representatives and students of the World Tai Kwan Do Institute.
Hamantaschen in a variety of flavors were offered for sale by Dr. Seuss’s characters Thing No. 2 (Victoria Zakinova) and Thing No.1 (Jennifer Rapoport) , and other volunteers offered a brown-bag lunch that included bagel and cream cheese, apple, water and for desert, of course, hamataschen.
Preparations for other upcoming synagogue festivities were also in evidence. Women of the congregation dressed up in ‘Roaring 20;s’ costume promoted a “Sisterhood Speakeasy” to be held at 8 p.m., March 8, at a “secret” location. Recalling the days of Prohibition in the United States, once people RSVP for the event, they will be told its location and given the “password” to get in.
At the Sisterhood table, there were also items for sale for Passover, which is the next major holiday on the Jewish calendar. These included toys representing the “Ten Plagues,” which can be distributed to the children at seders.
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. He may be contacted at [email protected]