Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

What is Israel's Mount Meron and why were so many Orthodox Jews gathered there for the Lag B'Omer holiday?

(JTA) — “If you haven’t seen the joy of Lag b’Omer on the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, you haven’t seen joy at all,” wrote the author Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Israel’s first Nobel Prize laureate.

That description reflects an aspect of the annual pilgrimage to Mount Meron in northern Israel that was underlined by the deaths on Friday of at least 45 revelers in a stampede: It is a place whose symbolism reflects a mix of grief and euphoria.

Indeed, the tragedy struck during what for many observant Jews is among the happiest days of the year: the cessation of a period of mourning between the holid...


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