The Purim amazing race
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The Purim amazing race

Because the story of Purim unfolds in a palace, Camp Yachad at the JCC of Central NJ supplied participants with materials to make their own crowns.
Because the story of Purim unfolds in a palace, Camp Yachad at the JCC of Central NJ supplied participants with materials to make their own crowns.

Before Purim, on Sunday, March 13, Congregation Beth Israel of Scotch Plains and Temple Emanu-El of Westfield, working with local Jewish camps, conducted “The Purim Amazing Race.”

It was modeled after the popular television show “The Amazing Race.” A scavenger hunt was open to congregants of all ages and abilities. To enroll, participants contributed canned goods for the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ’s food pantry, fulfilling the Purim commandment of giving gifts to the needy.

More than 75 teams of families, totally approximately 300 participants, raced around the towns of Fanwood, Scotch Plains, and Westfield in their cars, with the goal of helping Queen Esther save the Jewish people, the way she did in the biblical Purim story. Contestants stopped at 13 sites, including the Westfield Memorial Library and Mindowaskin Park in Westfield, and the JCC of Central NJ and Coles Middle School in Scotch Plains. At each stop, contestants participated in missions that were both educational and enjoyable, such as crafting crowns, waging karaoke battles, writing poems, and picking up litter.

Several Jewish summer experience partners also helped with the race by creating and running stops along the course. These summer programs included Camp Yachad at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains; Camp Harlam; NJY camps; Ramah Camps; USY Summer Programs; and One Happy Camper.

The Purim Amazing Race ended with treats under the tents at Congregation Beth Israel, satisfying the Purim commandment to enjoy a feast. Families enjoyed desserts from the Scream Truck, Glazed and Confused Donuts, and traditional hamantaschen provided by Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe in Westfield. The four winning families received Amazon gift cards as prizes.

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