May 20th 2016
Lag B’Omer is the celebration of two events:
The death of one of the greatest Torah luminaries, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
The cessation of a terrible plague that wiped out tens of thousands of scholars from the face of the planet.
Israelis remember these two occasions by building bonfires, having barbeques, and playing with toy bows and arrows. If you’re in Israel this May, take the time to learn more about Lag B’Omer and the way Israelis are really doing it right.
Celebrate Like an Israeli
After understanding the depth of this holiday, it’s time to get out there and celebrate! Here are a few Lag B’Omer activities that you and your family can enjoy this year!
You can’t go far without bumping (careful!) into a bonfire on Lag B’Omer. The entire country goes up in flames in the most organized and strategic light show ever imagined. If you are looking for a good bonfire, check out the Jerusalem Forest, the corner of Gedud Ha’Ivri, Tel Aviv, Tzfat, and Hebron. Of course, wherever you are, you’ll find loads of smaller bonfires where you can just tag along and throw a potato on for the roasting!
Tomb of Bar Yochai
If you are particularly adventurous, you can visit the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai situated in Meron, right outside of Tzfat. While this is not a trip recommended for young children, Lag B’Omer at this gravesite is an experience that everyone should have at least once in his or her lifetime. Throngs of people packed in so tightly that they move in waves towards the tomb gather together to pray, BBQ, and celebrate this holy man’s legacy.
Chabad organizes a tremendous children’s parade throughout the country for Lag B’Omer. Kids march in unison to show solidarity and togetherness, important concepts for this day.
Museum Free Pass
You can visit several museums for free on Lag B’Omer day. The Israel Museum, Bible Land Museum, and Museum of Islamic Art are a few.
One of the most amazing things about traveling abroad is interacting with a new culture. With different customs, beliefs, and perspectives, Israel has a wealth of experience to offer the traveler who is open-minded (or open-hearted) enough to embrace it. Come celebrate Lag B’Omer the right way this year.