The groups joined in to host a celebration of the Jewish holiday that among other things marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a Roman-era Talmudic sage who instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy” rather than in mourning.
Members of the Jewish community on Elon’s campus came together to mark the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer this year, with Chabad, Hillel and the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity hosting a wonderful event at Chabad that drew more than 60 students. Everyone was able to celebrate together while following COVID-19 safety protocols.
Lag Ba’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer count, is traditionally celebrated with bonfires, parades, and other joyous events. Among other things, Lag Ba’Omer marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a Roman-era Talmudic sage who instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy” rather than in mourning.
Following the tragedy that took the lives of many at Mt. Meron in Israel the day before, the May 1 celebration in Elon took on additional meaning. After some deliberation, Rabbi Mendy Minkowitz of Chabad at Elon and the Elon Hillel team reached the conclusion that to honor the 45 lives lost at Mt. Meron and in the spirit of Jewish unity, they would forge ahead with the event as scheduled.
According to Betsy Polk, director of Jewish Life and acting associate chaplain, the event was even more poignant as it honored the lives lost. “It’s such a joy when the Jewish community comes together to celebrate and be there for each other in good times and bad,” she said.
The event was held outdoors and consisted of a traditional bonfire, lavish kosher BBQ with vegetarian options, lawn games, music and s’mores.
Noah Levine ‘23, an AEPi brother attended the event and shared that it was a great time with great food. “There were also fun activities to do and it gave me the chance to meet new people.,” he said.
Rivka Minkowitz, Chabad’s rebbetzin and co-Director, said that “as the year winds down, and covid restrictions are eased up, it was so special to see many new and returning faces, coming together under the theme of Jewish unity and having fun together!”