10,000 Youngsters Participate in Lubavitch Sponsored Lag B’omer and Year of Torah Education Festivit

In connection with the “Year of Torah Education” proclaimed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, world leader of the Lubavitch movement, some 20,000 Jewish boys and girls participated in a huge parade and outing under the banner “Saluting Torah Education” and as part of the Lag B’Omer holiday.

The Lag B’Omer parade was sponsored by the National Council of Mesibos Shabbos, a division of Merkos L’Imyonei Chinuch–the educational arm of the Lubavitcher movement.

The day of Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the 50 days counted from the Exodus from Egypt to the receiving of Torah at Mt. Sinai, has been celebrated for nearly 1900 years as that day which marked the cessation of a horrible plague in which thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students died.

It also marks the Yahrzeit of the great Tanaic sage. Rabbi Shimon bar. Yochel, author of the “Zohar”–the basic Cabbalistic work–who, together with his son Eliezer, hid in a cave for 13 years to escape persecution by the Romans, It has since become a day in which it is customary for children to go out in the fields and rejoice with their teachers.

The parade began in Brooklyn at the site of the Lubavitcher movement’s world headquarters. The children gathered at this point, having been transported by buses from all parts of the city and surrounding states. They were addressed by prominent Torah personalities about the significance of Lag B’Omer and the importance of receiving a true Torah education. Rabbi Schneerson declared: “Whether they be young in age or young in the sense that they possess only a meager knowledge of Yiddishkeit, all must be provided with a Torah education.”

POLICE CLOSE STREET TO TRAFFIC

With special permission from the New York City Police Department, Eastern Parkway, where the Lubavitcher headquarters is located, was closed to all traffic to facilitate adequate area for the assembled crowds. The children then marched along Eastern Parkway accompanied by a number of professional marching bands. Some 50 40-foot floats made up a part of the parade, each portraying in an animated fashion historical Jewish events.

Thousands of banners, placards, high flying balloons, and giant modules trooped by the reviewing stand. Sound trucks were stationed along the parade route pouring out lively Hasidic songs to create a joyful mood amongst the spectators.

The parade culminated in a nearby park where thousands of prizes were distributed, with something for each child. The grand prize was a free trip to Israel. Picnic lunch was served free of charge, and the children were entertained by a musical variety show and a circus animal act. The fun and excitement, centered around the them of promoting Torah education and Torah consciousness, lasted on into the afternoon at which point the children were bussed home.

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