Lag Ba’omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, the days between Pesach and Shavuot. On this day, most people stop observing the mourning customs they began at the beginning of the Omer in memory of the students of Rabbi Akiva who died during that time, this includes not getting a haircut. Every year, my former elementary school, the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in Plainview, N.Y., hosts a barbecue and bonfire for Lag Ba’omer. We have an annual tradition at that event: volunteers donate eight inches or more of their hair to a charity that makes wigs for children who don’t have hair for medical reasons, turning a haircut into an act that helps others.
I have been thrilled to play whatever role I can in this beautiful tradition. One year, I brought the donated hair to a charity called Zichron Menachem in Israel. I also designed the t-shirt logo for one of the annual hair donation events: a pair of scissors with a heart joining the blades and a single lock of hair wrapped around them. Last year, I donated some of my own hair—thank you to Entourage Salons for doing an amazing job! And I hope to do it again next year.
This year’s hair donation was as heartwarming as ever. Jenna Kessler, a talented HANC graduate, did this year’s gorgeous haircuts. “I feel so lucky that I got to help girls and women do such a good deed,” she said. “Hair is something so special to people, and to donate yours to someone who doesn’t have is incredible. Anytime someone asks me to be part of the hair donation process, I jump at the opportunity!”
Among the eager volunteers who donated hair was the Brunner family. Sherri Brunner and her daughters—Haley, 13; Camryn, 9; Jordyn, 5—all donated their hair together. It was a great bonding experience for them. The haircut was Jordyn’s first ever, and she was happy to be doing it for such a good reason!
I love that my school has this annual Lag Ba’omer hair donation tradition. I think that it’s a wonderful way to reach out to others on a day of celebration. It’s enriched the lives of the girls and women who donate the hair as well as those who receive it, and it is a tradition that will hopefully continue for many more years.
Rena Max is a sophomore at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.
Fresh Ink for Teens is an online magazine written by, and for, Jewish students from high schools around the world.