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Magic Mountain Offers Perfect Purim

Posted: March 3, 2008 2:32 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Beth Knesset Bamidbar's choir sings during the annual PurimFest at Magic Mountain.

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The yells and screams of thrill-seekers at Six Flags Magic Mountain provided the perfect setting Sunday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim - a joyful and enthusiastic occasion known for celebratory yells and screams.

Temple Beth Ami brought Jewish culture together with adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster riding in the daylong, carnival-type celebration of the story of Purim, the day of deliverance of Jewish people from annihilation in the ancient Persian Empire.

"Our goal is to use Magic Mountain as a great resource, which provides us the ultimate setting for our carnivals," said Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami, who organized Sunday's PurimFest carnival and celebration. "Because of this holiday, it is the only day of the year that the park will serve Kosher food throughout the park. We want to get Jewish people out to the park and enjoy Kosher food on this day."

It was also a day of unity as people from Santa Barbara to San Diego trekked to Six Flags to celebrate the auspicious holiday. Jewish congregations from the San Fernando and Antelope valleys joined Santa Clarita Valley's Temple Beth Ami in hosting numerous games for children and live entertainment for all in attendance. Approximately 1,000 people visited PurimFest throughout the day.

The all-day celebration included performances by five bands and choirs, face-painting and games for children and a presentation of a proclamation to Temple Beth Ami by Santa Clarita City Council candidate Diane Trautman.
Found in the Book of Esther, Purim was a day of celebration, characterized by generous portions of food and drink, charity to the poor, drinking of wine and wearing of costumes and masks.

This was the fifth year that the local congregation and Six Flags joined together to host PurimFest. Blazer said Magic Mountain is an ideal venue for the celebration, as it provides a more festive environment than would a carnival at a temple.

"Traditionally, this is usually carnival held at a church," he said. "Yet we have developed a reputation and established enough of a solid event that people from all over Southern California know about us and come out to support us here at Magic Mountain."

For Six Flags, PurimFest was one of a series of cultural events hosted by the park throughout the year. According to Six Flags spokeswoman Sue Carpenter, between 10 and 12 cultural events are held at Magic Mountain each year, including a Latin festival and jazz concerts.

"The park is always looking to bring families together and expose different cultures to our guests," she said.

Blazer added that PurimFest not only exposed Jewish culture to thrill-seekers at Six Flags, it provided parents an opportunity to spend time with their children.

"For me to watch my kids enjoy this park on this holiday is a tremendous joy," he said. "This is the greatest carnival in the country."

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