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Close to 1,000 Fill Streets in North London for Annual Lag B'Omer Parade

Wednesday, 13 May, 2009 - 2:38 pm

DSCN0968.JPGMusic and colourful banners filled the streets of Stamford Hill on Tuesday morning as close to one thousand people participated in the annual parade to celebrate Lag B’Omer – the day which marks the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the ceasation of a plague which claimed the lives of Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students.

Students from kindergartens and schools in North and North West London gathered with the wider community and civic leaders outside the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the UK.

A rally was held with speeches delivered by Dayan L Y Raskin, rabbi of the Lubavitch community in London, and Councillor Mutallip Unluer, deputy speaker of Hackney Council, who commended the children for their energy and pride in their religion and community.

"People have different personalities... Each of Rabbi Akiva's students felt that the others would do well to adopt his particular mode," explained Dayan Raskin.

He urged the children to respect others’ differences and to utilise their “unique personalities” to reach out to others.

Following the rally the police stopped traffic to allow the children to march in a parade down Stamford Hill’s main road holding banners and singing songs with Rabbi Y Cyprys of Shir Chodosh band providing joyous musical accompaniment.

drum.jpgThe colourful banners reflected Jewish themes and carried slogans from Torah passages, such as "Love Your Fellow as Yourself" and "It is a Great Mitzvah to Live with Happiness."

The vibrant rally and parade drew the attention of passersby, local residents and those who came from further afield.

“It is great to see Jewish children expressing themselves in such a lovely way and reaching out to the rest the community,” exclaimed one pedestrian who stopped to watch the parade.

Frederic Aranda, a South London-based photographer, was inspired to travel to Stamford Hill especially to capture the parade on film.

"I admired the spirit of the event. People showing a joyful spirit is rare in the current gloomy climate. It was a breath of fresh air!"

In addition to the London event, other such parades took place in various locations throughout the world, including Crown Heights, Israel and Australia.

The practice of holding parades for Lag B’Omer was established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of blessed memory, as a demonstration of Jewish pride.

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