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Israel Travel Blog >> May 22 >> Highlights and Tips
 Lag BaOmer - Jewish Holiday - This weekend
"Today, today is Lag BaOmer, today, today is Lag BaOmer…" a short phrase from a well known song in Hebrew, that children sing on the Lag BaOmer holiday. So what is Lag Baomer exactly? It’s a Jewish holiday, with a long history, but most important (now days), is that this is THE bonfire holiday of the Israeli kids…so don’t be alarmed if you see lots of fires where ever you go.
From Cabad's web site: Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer Count - this year, May 23, 2008 - is a festive day on the Jewish calendar, celebrated with outings (on which the children traditionally play with bow and arrows ), bonfires, and other joyous events. Many visit the resting place (in Miron in Northern Israel) of the great sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, whose yahrzeit (anniversary of his passing) the day marks. Rabbi
Shimon bar Yochai, who lived in the 2nd century, was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the "Kabbalah," and is the author of the basic work of Kabbalah, the Zohar. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as "the day of my joy."
Lag BaOmer also commemorates another joyous event. The Talmud relates that in the weeks between Passover and Shavuot a plague raged amongst the disciples of the great sage Rabbi Akiva "because they did not act respectfully towards each other"; these weeks are therefore observed as a period of mourning, with various joyous activities proscribed by law and custom. On Lag BaOmer the dying ceased. Thus Lag BaOmer also carries the theme of Ahavat Yisrael, the imperative to love and respect one's fellow.
So, if in Israel and you feel you can handle a celebration of 400,000 Hassidic – go to Miron mountain in the upper Galilee, it's quiet an experience, though not for everyone… An Alternative Lag BaOmer, with less burning and more of an Eco-Secular content, shell take place in Tel Aviv On Thurs., May 22, 8 PM, at the Rosh Tzipor section of HaYarkon Park. The event's highlight is an outdoor screening of Les Animaux Amoureux on a large screen, plus a night out on the park.

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