Monroe, NY – Kiryas Joel residence held Sunday night its annual traditional bonfire to mark the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer.
The celebration was attended by Tens of Thousands of Satmar Hasidim from all parts of New York.
Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum ascended the platform and lid the bonfire using a large torch, masses of Hasidim were dancing in the streets.
Similar bonfires are held in many Jewish communities, but Kiryas Joel’s is said to be by far the largest such celebration in the United States.
The origins of this celebration lie in the village of Meron in the Holy Land, burial site of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai. Lag Baomer marks the anniversary of his death approximately 1900 years ago. It is a day when Jews traditionally express happiness and thanks to G-d for inspiring Rabbi Simeon to write portions of the Talmud, the Zohar and other important Jewish texts.
Organizers said that because of the logistical difficulties of such huge crowds converging on such a small village, the celebration was held during daylight this year, rather than Motzi Shabbos night.
Video credit: Eli Wohl
Photos Below: Eli Wohl
Photos below: Tom Bushey