Celebrating unity

For the second time, the celebration of Lag B'Omer will bring together the entire Jewish community of Southern Oregon, regardless of age or affiliation.

A festive holiday rooted in Jewish unity will be held at Garfield Park in Ashland, beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 25.

This year's celebration is a combined project of the Chabad Jewish Center, Havurah Shir Hadash and Temple Emek Shalom. Admission is free for everyone.

"Lag B'Omer (Hebrew for the 33rd day of counting of the omer &

sheaves of barley) customarily is celebrated in a pleasurable environment with picnics and bonfires," said Rabbi Avi Zwiebel, director of the Chabad Jewish Center.

Barbecue hot dogs and burgers will be available for purchase, and vegetarian food will also be available upon request.

Entertainment will include a jump house, kite making, face painting and games, as well as arts and crafts.

Live music, frisbee, volleyball and other sports will also be featured during the afternoon.

"In the time of the Mishnah, 24,000 students of the great teacher Rabbi Akiva died; the deaths ended on Lag B'Omer," Zwiebel said. "It is said they died due to a lack of respect between one another. Rabbi Akiva is the one who promulgated the idea that loving your fellow is the basis of the whole Torah.

"The deaths ceased with the return of unity, so Lag B'Omer is a day for all of us to emphasize our unity and love and caring for one another. That is why we organized this event""for the purpose of bringing the entire community, regardless of age or affiliation, together in a pleasurable environment."

The event is open to the public. For more information, call 482-2778, or visit .

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