Why would a bat, a chef, and a karate student all be shaving balloons at 4:45 in the afternoon on a Wednesday in mid-March?

There can be only one explanation- the Third Annual Great Purim Relay at Kesher Newton.

Back for the third consecutive year, the Great Purim Relay takes the usual day at Kesher and turns it upside down.  Instead of Hebrew and Judaics, we turn off the academics and turn on the silliness, devoting our time to eating, playing, singing… and racing!

The students, most of whom came in costume (and the ones that didn’t raided our costume box), are divided into teams.  In those teams, they create cheers and songs, chose their stations for the relay, played Purim trivia, and did other Purim games.  Purim spiels and word matches, geography games and jokes, are the norm.

The Great Purim Relay, though, is the centerpiece of the afternoon.  Channeling the passion and energy of old summer camp Apache Relays, the gym is transformed into a hall of challenges.  Kesher kids make foul shots, do egg-and-spoon races, shave balloons, showcase their hula-hooping skills, do three-legged races, and more, all with an eye towards sportsmanship, healthy competition, and general frivolity.  While the balloon shaving is always a classic, there is something about the whipped cream pies with Hershey’s kisses buried at the bottom that tends to make that station the most memorable.

Even we old folks got into the act, as each member of the tzevet had own their own costume that fit into the theme of Biblical characters.  Yosef was in attendance, complete with a ktonet passim and headdress.  Fierce Yael showed up, with a tent stake in hand!  Miriam graced us with her presence and of course brought her timbrel.  Devorah appeared and sat in judgment beneath her palm tree.  Rachav spent the afternoon with us, red cord and all.  Moshe swung by with the Ten Commandments.  And Daniel himself came to Kesher, asking everyone if they were able to read all of that writing on the wall that he could.  The staff costume is always a hit with the students, and this year was no exception.

Following the relay and clean-up, all of Kesher came back upstairs for a spirited shirah session and a special treat… hamantaschen from Blacker’s.  Stay tuned for updates from today’s race- it’s an early release day AND our middle schoolers are here, so I think it might be a little more rowdy…

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