Dressed as a purple king, 5-year-old Rome Goodman excitedly threw his fishing pole over a sheet into a barrel of toys at the Augusta Jewish Community Center carnival in celebration of the holiday of Purim on Sunday.
Rome and his fellow Sunday school students earlier had performed a play and sung songs in front of a crowd, which his parents said gave him license to have some fun.
Purim is from sunset Wednesday until sunset Thursday. It is the celebration of Queen Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman who became queen of Persia without revealing she was Jewish. When she uncovered a plot by the king’s adviser to kill all the Jews, she intervened on behalf of her people. That act of courage is celebrated each year as Purim, as described in the Book of Esther, said Leah Ronen, the director of the Jewish Community Center.
At the carnival, kids were dressed as characters from the story of Esther, including kings and queens, and as just about everything else, from tigers to turtles.
“It’s a little bit of a Halloween too,” said Elliot Price, the principal of the Sunday school. “They have fun.”
The kids performed a play of the story of Queen Esther and sang songs they had worked on for the past few weeks.
The Sunday schools for the Congregation Children of Israel and the Adas Yeshurun Synagogue are combined, Price said, which allows the teachers to be creative.
Along with the music program, they have lock-ins and outdoor events for the kids. The center also provides an award-winning summer camp each year and classes in the fall, winter and spring.
Sunday’s performance was top tier, Price said.
“They did awesome,” Bob Goodman said. “They were animated and loud and clear. They knew all their words.”
Along with playing go-fish, the kids had the chance to get their faces painted and play ring toss, a game based on Wheel of Fortune, darts and more.
“It’s sort of a fun thing to do on such a beautiful day,” Goodman said. “Good people and a good crowd.”
Next Sunday, the center will partner with the Golden Harvest Food Bank for the 11th Annual Empty Bowl Luncheon to raise awareness of hunger in the region, Ronen said.
It will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the center, at 898 Weinberger Way, off Furys Ferry Road. For information on the event, or to volunteer, go to www.emptybowlcsra.org and click on the soup bowl at the bottom of the page.