SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Temple Sholom held its annual Purim Carnival, run by the temple's youth group on Sunday, Feb. 28, but it looked much different from previous carnivals.
This year, due to social distancing policies given the pandemic, the event was converted to a drive-through carnival featuring multiple stations.
Cars drove to each station where kids could play a different game offered. At the end, they could redeem their tickets in exchange for prizes.
"It's my first year as a volunteer, since last year's festival was canceled," said Noah Lieberman, a recent bar mitzvah. "I've always attended in previous years. Usually you could walk from booth to booths in groups your friends, but we couldn't do it this year."
Purim is a joyous Jewish celebration of salvation. In the ancient Persian empire, an administrator named Haman planned “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” They were saved by the beautiful Queen Esther, who revealed her lineage to her husband, King Ahasuerus, who had not known she was Jewish. Today, the festival is often celebrated by dressing in costumes and wearing masks.
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