IT will be party time in Perth from January 21-27 as the city’s Jewish community plays host to the Maccabi Junior Carnival for the first time in three years, putting out the welcome mat for an anticipated 170 Jewish boys and girls aged 12-16, representing four states.
“There’s a real buzz and sense of excitement here in Perth right now as final preparations are made, and host families find out which kids from the east coast they will be billeting,” said Maccabi WA vice-president Belinda Wolpert, who is co-manager of the event with Justine Sharbanee.
“We are a close-knit Jewish community over here, so having about 170 registered kids is a really manageable number for us, which will enable everyone to get to know each other and form new friendships.”
The 38th chapter of carnival will kick off with an opening ceremony at the Carmel School’s hall in Yokine on January 21, with the rest of carnival to be based at the adjacent Maccabi WA headquarters, which is well equipped with sports fields, indoor and outdoor courts and a gymnasium.
January 22 and 23, and an extra half-day on January 24, will be dedicated to competitive sport, building on the traditional friendly, interstate rivalry of carnivals of old.
Sports include tennis/table tennis, netball (mixed and Fast 5), football (7 and 11 per side formats), futsal, basketball (traditional and 3-on-3), ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, touch football and the debut of taekwondo.
For the first time, the Sunday morning of carnival (January 26) will feature a state vs state sport finals session directly followed by a presentation ceremony, to enable more families to come and watch.
A welcome new addition is an All-Abilities afternoon on January 24 that all kids are encouraged to take part in. On the activities list that afternoon are ‘equal footingball’ – an adapted form of soccer – and wheelchair ‘rebound’ basketball.
There will be time for fun activities like indoor rock climbing, laser tag and capture the flag, plus social events including a silent disco, a wave pool party and an Australia Day barbecue.
“The mood and sense of anticipation is unbelievable – I’ve been approached with request after request from people of all ages in Perth asking me how they could help.
“We are very grateful to everyone involved in Maccabi – from the organising committee to players, members, parents and volunteers – and to the entire Perth Jewish community, for their amazing support.”