Jewish holiday boasts festivities

The second annual Purim Carnival, in which children dressed as kings, queens and in any other costumes they desire will parade around for the festive Jewish holiday of Purim, will be held Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m. at Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main St., Ashland.

The story of Purim, from the biblical book of Esther, is read publicly every year in synagogues, sometimes in the form of a Purimspiel, or comedic play. When the name of the evildoer, Haman, is read aloud, the already rowdy audience will stomp their feet, hiss, boo and shake noisemakers, also known as groggers, to obliterate his name.

"Queen Esther, the heroine in the story, was a young woman who showed great bravery to save her people," said Bonnie Frol, a temple member who always looks forward to this annual spring event. "It is a fun and uplifting holiday reminding us that each person, no matter their age, gender or religion can have the courage to stand up for what is right in the face of extreme adversity. While many holidays may include joy and happy celebrations, few holidays actually command us to be joyous and filled with merriment. Purim is such a holiday."

After trying their skill and luck at a variety of carnival games, including "Fishing with Queen Esther's Pearls" and "Knock Down the Palace Wall," and making ornately-decorated crowns at the "Royal Craft Center," families can feast on homemade pizza and hamantaschen made by fourth-generation Jewish baker Michael Feldman. Hamantaschen are fruit or poppy seed-filled triangular cookies shaped like little three-cornered hats.

The pizza and hamantaschen will be for sale as a fund-raiser for the temple, along with fresh fruit that will be donated by the Ashland Food Co-op and fruit juices.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. Tickets for the carnival games and dinner items will be available for purchase. The carnival will be followed by the musical Purimspiel, "Rock Around the Castle," at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 488-2909.

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