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o surprise that Mordecai, Haman and Esther were part of the crowd at Congregation Etz Chaim last Sunday. But it was a bit of a shock that Cinderella, Snow White and Spiderman were also enjoying the fun at the East Cobb synagogue’s Purim Carnival. In fact, there were cats, clowns and jugglers; the usual fun and games – face-painting, spin art, darts, bean bag tosses and a fortune teller – and a few special treats, including a huge truck filled with video games, two inflatable bounce houses and (for those who dared) a climbing wall and mechanical bull.

Can you say oy vey?!

“This year’s carnival definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Lilly Shneibaum, a member of the shul’s USY chapter and one of the event cochairs. “It was amazing.”

Purim, the joyous holiday that is equal parts festival and celebration, recalls the defeat of wicked Haman and the salvation of the Jews of Persia thanks to the heroic deeds of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordecai. Synagogues across the U.S. have been holding parties and carnivals for decades to recall the ancient story (detailed in the biblical Book of Esther, Megillat Esther) and raise funds for special projects.

Sy Polakoff, 9, had his ups and downs, spending much of his time last Sunday zipping along this super slide at Etz Chaim.

As often as not – and as was the case at Etz Chaim – the annual event is handled by youngsters, and profits help them fund synagogue youth programs. “It’s all going great,” said Benjy Nadolne, also a member of Etz Chaim’s USY chapter. “I’m just here volunteering. It’s fun and it’s always nice to help out at the synagogue.”

Twins Addison and Dylan Merrill, 3, were too cute for words, all dressed up and ready to party at this year’s Purim Carnival.

Lena Robbins, 13, has a really good idea of what’s going to happen soon. After all, she was the fortune teller at this year’s holiday happening in East Cobb.

Rabbi Paul Kerbel of Congregation Etz Chaim was dressed for the occasion. Depending on your point of view, he was either Mordecai or, according to the costume’s packaging, a desert prince.

MARCH 1 ▪ 2013

Matthew Pressnall, 7, seemed to be getting up in the world, working his way along this climbing wall to celebrate Purim.


Purim was a lot of bull for Jacob Schwebel, who spent some quality time on this mechanical gizmo. PHOTOS/Ron Feinberg

No. 9 March 01 The Atlanta Jewish Times  
No. 9 March 01 The Atlanta Jewish Times