England's Jewish Children To Parade In North London

by Fay Kranz Greene - LONDON, ENGLAND

May 3, 2004

More than 1500 Jewish schoolchildren from London and the surrounding provinces are praying that it won’t rain on their parade.

Tzivos Hashem Craft Workshops, an independently funded branch of Lubavitch UK serving England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales is spearheading a massive parade and fair on Sunday, May 9th in observance of the Lag B’Omer holiday.

Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the counting period between Passover and Shavuos, is celebrated as a minor holiday because it is the anniversary of the passing of the great Torah sage and Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. It was Rabbi Shimon’s final wish that his yahrzeit be commemorated with great happiness, since it represented the culmination of his lifetime of work in teaching the mystical dimension of the Torah. (It was also on Lag B’Omer that a plague among the students of the great Talmudist Rabbi Akivah ended in the second century.

Rabbi Yossi Simon, director of Tzivos Hashem Craft Worskshops and Camp Gan Israel, Boys Division for the UK, noted that “for the first time since 1997, Lag B’Omer falls on a Sunday and Chabad Lubavitch worldwide is planning major celebrations.”

Simon has organized an event embracing the full spectrum of Anglo Jewry, who will join together in a show of unity and solidarity. More than 1500 children from London, Bournemouth, Luton, Watford, Edgware, Middlesex, and Essex will parade through the streets of North London accompanied by live music and colourful Jewish- themed floats.

Local community, political and religious leaders will be on hand to address the crowd including leading rabbis, governmental MP’s and Borough Councillors. Following the parade, the children and their families will continue the celebration in a nearby park to enjoy a funfair, hot air balloon rides, juggling shows, animal rides and more.

“Everyone is very excited about the event” says Chanie Simon, who is coordinating the parade with her husband. “It will unify all the disparate segments of the London Jewish community and instill a pride of heritage in our children during these difficult times.”

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