Photographs and reports from SIMON HOCHSCHILD, BIANCA SHAKINOVSKY and HESTER HOLLANDER
Warming their bodies – and their hearts – over a blazing bonfire, sister congregations Beit Emanuel and Beit David enjoyed Lag B’Omer in our colourfully lit garden on Wednesday 6 May, the 33rd day of the Omer.
The best-known custom of Lag B’Omer is the lighting of bonfires . In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather throughout the night and day to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting.
At Beit Emanuel, all three Gauteng progressive rabbis – Adrian Schiel and Julia Margolis from Bet David and our own Sa’ar Shaked – were in attendance and each gave a brief talk. Hot soup and roast potatoes with fillings were served and the congregation sat around a large, warming fire, praying, singing and watching the children at play.
The campfire had been skilfully built by Rabbi Sa’ar, who also, with his guitar, lead us in singing “Hine Ma Tov Umanaim” which very aptly means: “Behold how good and how pleasing if brothers could sit together in unity”.
It was a special evening and the warm atmosphere of our very own bonfire, shared with Beit David, was felt by all. Thank you to all who participated.