Lag b'Omer
Children reach from their cars to greet a visiting kangaroo. (Photo: Bais Chabad)

The holiday marks the anniversary of the passing of the great sage and mystic, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar.

With the will of getting out and celebrating the holiday of Lag b’Omer, local families found a way to enjoy a socially distanced, three-part observance, highlighted by before, during and after participation.

Days prior to the May 12 event, decorations, including window markers, posters, balloons and streamers, were delivered to the homes of those registered. These adorned their cars featuring any chosen mitzvah, adding their own embellishments to complete the design.

Lag b'Omer
Lisa Berenholtz of West Bloomfield and her daughter Ava, 4, enjoy the fun. (Photo: Bais Chabad)

“They then gathered at the Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield parking lot to display their ‘Mitzvah Mobiles’ and enjoy lively music, words of Torah and, most importantly, each other’s company, all from within their individual cars,” said Rabbi Shneur Silberberg, who, with his wife, Zeesy, is the center’s outreach director and event organizer.

Approximately 30 chalked, feathered, foiled and kid-filled vehicles circled to the beat of music from a portable sound system with passengers window-waving across the lot.

Lag b'Omer
Celebrants get a close-up view of an exotic visitor. (Photo: Bais Chabad)

A crew of exotic animals was on hand for parade-goers to view from afar.

To continue the festivities when back home again, masked, gloved volunteers distributed boxed pizza and to-go packages of Lag b’Omer crafts and treats.

The holiday marks the anniversary of the passing of the great sage and mystic, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar. It takes place on the 33rd day of the Omer, which is the 49-day period between the second night of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. The Omer is also a time of mourning in remembrance of the students of Rabbi Akiva, who died of a plague during the first 33 days in the second century C.E. The practices of mourning are lifted for this day, and Lag b’Omer is celebrated with music, often with parades and bonfires.

“Lag b’Omer is a festive event which usually includes people gathering together, outdoors,” Rabbi Silberberg said. “Both of these issues are challenging at the moment. It was beautiful to see how everyone cooperated — not easy keeping children inside a car — to allow for a safe, yet communal, exciting, meaningful Lag b’Omer experience. Parents and children were thrilled to be able to connect to one another, albeit from a distance and be reminded that we are all still part of loving, tight-knit community.

Lag b'Omer
Jeremy and Chaya Goodman of West Bloomfield and their children Rochel, 2, Josh, 8 and Jacob, 5, participate in the festivities from both inside and outside their car. (Photo: Bais Chabad)

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