South Florida’s tri-county Lag B’Omer festival took place at Marlins Park on Sunday, May 18. The event was promoted as a Unity Parade and Fair, and it certainly lived up to its name. The celebration was free and open to the entire community. Although the effort was sponsored by 150 South Florida Chabad centers, Jews of every persuasion and type were welcomed and joined in the festivities.
Lag B’Omer marks the date that the disciples of the great 2nd century sage Rabbi Akiva ceased dying from a terrible plague. We are told the students were not “sufficiently respectful to each other.” They lacked a feeling of unity. Twenty-four thousand died.
Jewish unity is an important concept. It is truly beautiful to see misnagidim and chassidim, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, religious and secular all uniting for a common goal and a shared celebration. When the Jewish people come together with unity and love, they create a true Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of God’s name.
Sinat chinam, baseless hatred between Jews, was the reason for our exile. Hopefully, ahavat Yisrael, the love of our follow Jew, will continue throughout the worldwide Jewish community and bring our redemption.