Lag Baomer In NY

The Jewish Children’s Pride Parade was an invention of the Rebbe and a brilliant idea that changed the course of post-Holocaust Jewish America.

It features the most inspiring Jewish and Torah themed floats, Jewish children marching bands, and a Jewish wonderland.

About ten years ago, I begged my father to attend with me and our 3 toddlers. He reluctantly came but was busy doing some work on his phone during the procession.  He thought it would be a regular children’s event, ie boring for adults.

But once I tapped his shoulder to asked him to watch the floats and the children, he stood up and watched them march by for hours , with tears streaming down his cheeks.

In the early 1950’s the Jewish people were not in great shape.  The American Jews were very few and assimilated.  The European Jewish immigrants were refugees and broken from the Holocaust.

In those days, the saying, “S’ iz shver tzu zayn a Yid- it’s hard to be a Jew” was common.

Jews were not holding their heads high. They felt compelled to work on Shabbos.

Came along the Rebbe and turned this 2,000 year old celebration of Lag Baomer into the most memorable Jewish children’s event. He only would approve of the parade when Lag Baomer fell out on a Sunday, because he wanted public school children to attend.

They built a big stage for the Rebbe to watch the children and floats march by.

They would stop and salute to the Rebbe.

One of my favorite childhood books was “The Great Mitzvah Fair”.

I looked at those pages and dreamed of those giant mitzvahs coming to life.

It had so much of an impact on my life, that the “The Mitzvah Fair” playground of the Jewish Campus of Temecula was directly inspired by the book.

And that book was a direct inspiration of the Lag Baomer Parade.

This parade pumps Jewish pride and excitement into being Jewish. It’s not hard to be a Jew. It’s wonderful and exciting and fun to be a Jew!

This event truly has shaped my life, hopefully is shaping Jewish Temecula too.

The last time Lag Baomer was on a Sunday was 8 years ago, which is why we felt so strongly about coming here this year.


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