Celebrating Purim 2024 at Talmud Torah School

Staff members joined the Purim fun at Talmad Torah School. The celebrations included a costume parade, a special assembly with student performances and an amazing carnival organized by Grade 5 and 6 students.

By: Natalie Soroka

(AJNews) – The 22nd day of Adar 5784, more commonly known as March 22, 2024, was a festive one at Talmud Torah School! Each year, Jewish schools around the world spend the day celebrating the joyous holiday of Purim, something we needed very much, especially this year.

At TT, the day kicked off with a costume parade, with students and staff filling the hallway. Our Early Learning Centre children lined the hallway in their costumes and watched in awe as the students and staff circled the school. Everyone then transitioned into the gym for the Purim assembly, where K-6 classes performed in front of their peers.

One of the enriching and wonderful outcomes of learning at a Jewish day school is student growth in public speaking. Throughout the school year, most of the Jewish holidays are acknowledged with a school assembly. TT assemblies are always student led and designed so that each class has a chance to perform. Many TT alumni will recall with great nostalgia when they were finally old enough to have the honour of leading the TT Purim assembly.  This year, grades 5 and 6 took on the role with great enthusiasm, inviting each class to come up and perform their song and leading the students in gragger shaking and booing when Haman’s name was mentioned.

We were thrilled and excited to welcome the Early Learning Centre students to the assembly. It won’t be long until they enter kindergarten and perform their own Purim songs. For now, they were content to take in the sights and sounds of the older kids, starting with the kindergarteners singing Leitzan Katan, and Kinderarts (TT Society’s afternoon program) proudly performing Ani Purim.  The grade 1 class started with a reading of the Megillah, followed by the song LaYehudim Hayta Ora V’Simcha. Next came grade 2 students with the tune Mishenichnas Adar, after which grade 4 students treated the audience to a funny video “Why the Zebra Wears Pyjamas”. The song Chag Purim was performed exquisitely by our grade 3 students on their recorders, joined by grades 5 and 6 students on their ukuleles and guitars. Of course, it would not be a Purim assembly without games, including; Find the Queen, Musical Chairs, Knock Knock, Who’s There, and Purim Headbandz/Guess the character. Dancing followed with Tzigale Boom, Kiss, Kiss, Turkish Kiss, and Lasha Tumbai.

The fun didn’t end there, though! Following lunch, the afternoon was all about the Purim carnival. Grades 5 and 6 students spent time leading up to Purim brainstorming and organizing Purim activity centers, including the haunted house, trivia, sports in the gym, face painting, snack and movie, ball and bean bag toss and “guess what’s in the jar”. They were hands-on throughout the carnival as leaders at each of the centers. This involved a lot of teamwork, and the students really came through! They were organized, focused and responsible. Well done grades 5 and 6 students. Yasher Koach!

There were some special guests who attended the carnival too! Several TT alumni who graduated from grade 6 last year were on spring break, and decided that they had to visit their former stomping grounds. It warmed our hearts! One former graduate could be seen in the gym playing an intense basketball game against their former Gr. 6 math teacher! Our other special guest was the always popular Ari the lion cub mascot, who joined in the fun wearing a King Achashverosh crown. Ari was eager to take pictures with teachers and students, and play hockey and ball toss with the students. Ari got a big high-five from teacher Ben Ragosin when the ball was tossed right into the cup! Children big and small were thrilled to hang out with Ari during the carnival. Ari has been attending TT now for just over a year, and the TT family always looks forward to visits at many school events throughout the year.

While our littlest students in the Early Learning Centre took part in the carnival atmosphere, participating where they could, our K-4 students hung out in friend groups as they travelled from activity to activity. The haunted house is always a fan favourite, with lineups extending through the library. Face painting was a big hit, as was the snack and movie centre. After two hours of activities and snacks, another successful carnival wrapped.

Following the carnival, some grade 5 and 6 student leaders were interviewed and had this to say: “The carnival was so much fun!”; “It was a great experience and super exciting”; “I think we did a great job, and all the kids had a lot fun”; “It was awesome to be with the other kids in the school and as a community”; “There were a lot of kids and it was a great experience”; “It was a lot of fun connecting with all the kids”; “The haunted house was pretty chaotic, and the trivia and scavenger hunt were great”; “It was fun to talk to kids and meet people”.

It looks like the carnival was a resounding success!

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