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20,000 to Join Lag B’Omer Celebration of Jewish Pride and Unity

“The Great Parade” Will Welcome Jews of All Backgrounds

More than 20,000 people are expected to gather outside Chabad-Lubavitch Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway for a Lag B’Omer celebration and parade — a tradition begun by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the 1940s. 

Lag B’Omer takes place on the 18th of the Jewish month of Iyar, and commemorates the miraculous ending of an epidemic that killed 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva in the second century. It is also the anniversary of the passing of one of Rabbi Akiva’s foremost students, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, also known as Rashbi, the author of the Zohar, the foundational text of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah). Rashbi asked his students to mark the day with joy, as it was the culmination of his life’s work. While typically, hundreds of thousands gather at Rashbi’s resting place in Meron, Israel, this year those celebrations will be muted as the site has been largely closed off amid Hezbollah rocket fire. 

Since their inception, the Lag B’Omer parades have been an opportunity for children — many of whom have little exposure to Judaism throughout the year — to join in a massive public display of Jewish pride and joy. 

Yael Binyaminov’s two children, Arianna and Isabella Sara, ages six and nine, are attending the parade for the first time. They’re students at P.S. 220, the Edward Mandel School, in Queens, New York. They heard about the parade from student rabbis who supervise Chabad’s Released Time program, which brings public school students to nearby synagogues for an hour of Jewish instruction each week.

“My kids are very excited to join the parade,” Binyaminov told Lubavitch.com. Binyaminov, who moved to Queens from Israel, has fond memories of celebrating Lag B’Omer as a child “I want the kids to experience this as well,” she said.

And coming as it does during the ongoing war in Israel and amid heightened antisemitism around the world, Binyaminov says the parade has added importance. “It shows how strong the Jewish nation is,” she said.

More than 150 schools, synagogues, and community groups will be represented at the parade. Thousands of participants will be coming from the East Coast and community groups will be joining from as far as Florida, France and Israel.

Chabad-sponsored parades will similarly take place around the world in celebration of Lag B’Omer, with pomp and circumstance defying the intimidation that has been targeting Jews in recent months. 

The parade will be live streamed via this link.

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