View Full Version : Question About Purim Carnivals, Carnival Games And Religious Judaism

07-11-2009, 06:51 AM
During a Purim carnival at a shul, would it be realistic to see a game of chance, like a basketball toss for a stuffed animal, with the money raised going to charity? Would the players hand the carny cash or would they be more likely to pay with paper tickets that were bought before the event?

Do both the men and women get drunk, or just the men?

My characters are Modern Orthodox Jews in 1977, in Southern California. Input from everyone is greatly appreciated, regardless of whether you obtained your knowledge first-hand or you've just heard stories from other people.

Thank you in advance. :)

Smiling Ted
07-11-2009, 08:24 AM
It's unlikely that there would be carnies at the shul. Odds are that the booths would be run by families (especially older kids) that are shul members, and that a ticket system would be used, instead of cash.

And while there's a tradition of drinking wine (and wearing costumes and putting on plays), to call it "drunkenness" is a little extreme. You probably wouldn't see anyone more than moderately tipsy at the carnival. There are few words that are freighted with more contempt in Yiddish than "shikker" (drunk), and hard alcohol wouldn't be served - just wine, at most. Someone who did overindulge would be more likely to do it at a party at home, among family and friends, than publicly among members of the shul.

The four main commandments of Purim are listening to the Book of Esther, having a festival meal, giving charity to the poor, and giving gifts of food to friends.

Of course, Southern California has always had something of a rep...

07-11-2009, 10:13 AM
Thanks! When I used the word carny I actually meant one of the men in the shul taking on that role.

Also thanks for the clarification on the alcohol consumption. My characters wouldn't be too likely to drink, but I wasn't sure about the people around them.


07-11-2009, 05:47 PM
My husband, who grew up in a Conservative Jewish household, thinks that Smiling Ted got it right on the nose for Purim celebrations in a Conservative Jewish temple. He does want to caution you, however, that Orthodox Jews may celebrate Purim a bit differently, and if you can get input from an Orthodox Jew, you may find some idiosyncracies. Have you tried this website:


Good luck!