It's almost Lag B'Omer... please secure your shopping carts and wood!

Picture from: http://ha-tikvah.blogspot.com/2007/05/lag-bomer.html

I attended a few Lag B'Omer bonfires in the states, and they were highly programmed affairs. A local Jewish day school purchased some wood and hay bales, brought in the local fire department to carefully light the materials, cordoned off a safe zone around the fire so that nobody would get too close, and organized singing and dancing activities to keep everyone busy.

Like so much in Israel, though, Lag B'Omer here is much more organic and authentic... and much less organized. For weeks, gangs of neighborhood kids (including the little guys in our building) have been using "borrowed" shopping carts to gather up pieces of driftwood, old furniture, crates, and basically anything else flammable that isn't tied down. In fact, it's a great idea to throw out things like old shelves before Lag B'Omer, because neighborhood kids will gladly strip them down and burn them. (We have a broken door-- with a broken glass panel in the middle-- that we want to throw out, but I'm afraid to because I don't want kids carting off the broken glass!) Kids gather these into piles of wood that they defend so that THEIR bonfire will be the biggest in the area. My husband remembers, er, a creative method he used to secure a huge log for his bonfire when he was a little kid... he can tell that story in the comments if he wishes. :)

Where the bonfires occur is at least somewhat organized-- in Kiryat Bialik, they happen underneath tall trees (yes, underneath... the trees actually get charred... it's pretty crazy) just outside the high school, alone the edge of the nearby fields. Different kindergartens and schools will congregate around different fires-- the younger kids first, then later the teenagers, who we found shopping for last-minute pitas and hot dogs as we went home AFTER the bonfire we attended with friends last year... their parties were just about to start. And yes, if you live in one of the apartments right next to where the fires burn... well... I hope you remember to shut all your windows before-hand.

If you fly over Israel tonight, you apparently see the fires dotting the ground everywhere. If you're on the ground, I hope you get to eat a hot baked potato cooked in one of the fires. Happy Lag B'Omer!


  1. All that time as a kid between Pesach and Lag BaOmer spent "collecting wood." And the bonfire never really was as magnificent as we thought it would be.

    And bonfires in the states as a kid? All we had was fake bows and arrows...

  2. Admittedly this has nothing to do with your current post, but that is because I have also been reading some of the archives. In the "fryer" post you described the ordeal of trimming Pixel's claws; with this in mind, I am wondering if it is possible to have a cat declawed in Israel. I have given my cat to my son but plan to get a new cat when I make Aliyah. I believe in some states in the U.S. declawing has been discontinued. Anyway, I hope I can get my future cat declawed.

  3. As far as I know, declawing a cat in Israel is treated just as it is in the US-- it isn't recommended, but it's allowed. And I have to say that the option is becoming more and more appealing to me as our cats DESTROY the furniture in our furnished apartment... oy.

    I can ask my vet or put you in touch with him if you'd like!

  4. De-clawing is highly discouraged by vets and animal-rights groups alike. It's not healthy for the cats, and if they some how ever end up in the street (as our *house* cats have been known to do by jumping out the window) not having claws could be seriously dangerous to the cat.

    As far as "creative" methods for defending your firewood, I will simply state that apparently not even wood-hungry ten year olds really want to carry a log that has been spat on repeatedly. ;)


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