Lag B’Omer Bash: Bonfires and Family Fun

by | Apr 28, 2017 | What’s Happening

Sunday, May 14, 5-7:30 pm
Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus
Free for Moms in honor of Mothers’ Day

More than 400 people, young and old, gathered last year to light up the night sky with a blazing bonfire for an Israeli inspired Lag B’Omer Bash at the Sandler Family Campus. This year’s celebration of the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, promises to be another joyous night of community family fun. The event is sponsored by the Simon Family JCC, United Federation of Tidewater’s Young Adult Division, and the Chabad Lubavitch of Tidewater.

All festivities will take place in the campus’ backyard making easy access for the children to use the playground equipment and the Gaga pit for rousing Israeli dodge ball games throughout the evening. Israeli music will add to the spirit of the Lag B’Omer Bash, along with a cookout that will include corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers.

Since Lag B’Omer lands on Mother’s Day this year, moms will get free entry. Moms can sit around the flickering bonfire and enjoy the magical drum circle jams while their children have their faces painted, eat cotton candy, or crunch on colorful snow cones from the Kona Ice Truck.

The evolution of this enigmatic Jewish holiday is debated, but it has become associated with ancient traditions and events that have now defined its meaning and unique community celebration.

Between the time of the liberation from Egypt celebrated during Passover, to the receiving of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai on Shavuot, it became a mitzvah to count each one of these 49 days (known as the counting of the Omer), and present an omer, a sheaf of barley or wheat, to the temple as an offering.

Some say that the 33rd day refers to a day of redemption when a terrible plague that killed thousands of students of Rabbi Akiba in the 2nd century, suddenly ceased. Others connect this day with the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a great teacher of Jewish mysticism, with the light of the bonfire symbolic of the wisdom of his teachings. Modern Jewish tradition sometimes links the holiday to the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire (132-135 CE). In Israel, it is celebrated as a symbol for the fighting Jewish spirit.

Regardless of the beginnings, the 33rd day marks a break in time of mourning during which weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing and music are not conducted and even haircuts are forbidden. However, on this 33rd day, all mourning practices are lifted for a spirited night of celebration.

This event is open to the community. To register or for more information, visit

$5 a person* or $25 per family by May 7.
$8 a person* or $40 per family after May 7.

*Children under 2 are free.
$0 for moms