KIRYAS JOEL – Some 1,900 years ago Jewish religious sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai died, and he instructed his disciples to celebrate his life each year on that date.
The tradition is still carried out to this day around the world including at the Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel where the Wednesday night sky was lit brightly with a giant bon fire, a tradition, as an estimated 30,000 men danced and sang in what is billed as the largest party of its kind in the United States.
The Lag BaOmer celebration, which is held annually in the village, was cancelled the last two years because of COVID-19.
(video: Mark Lieb, Rockland Video Productions)
Smaller celebrations than the giant one in Orange County, were held in neighboring Rockland County.
State Police provided extra security for the large event to assist the village public safety department.
The celebration went well into the late-night hours.