Thousands of Jews Come Together to Celebrate Lag B’Omer on Pico Blvd
The Lag B’Omer Parade and Fair, held last Sunday on Pico Blvd, was one of the largest public displays in Los Angeles. It surpassed all expectations of the organizers and the attendees. “It went beyond our wildest dreams,” says Rabbi Mendel Duchman, parade director.
At the outset, the organizers had promised a “bigger and better” event, and bigger and better it was. About 6000 people, of all ages and all walks of life, gathered on Pico Blvd last Sunday. The attendees came from many shuls and schools throughout California. The Lag B’Omer spirit permeated the air.
After the opening remarks by Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Chabad’s head shaliach of the West Coast, the parade began with a smoke-filled fly over of a squadron of three vintage jets. It was followed by intricately designed floats, a horse-drawn buggy, marching bands, and procession consisting of students of many of the Jewish schools in the area, who carried hand-made posters highlighting Torah mitzvos.
The young and the old were mesmerized by the parade. Afterwards, the children enjoyed rides and carnival games. Uncle Moishy won the hearts of even the youngest of the attendees. Eli Marcus’s concert was also very popular, as well as the breathtaking BMX bicycle stunts.
The Los Angeles police, fire, and sanitation departments participated in the event, educating the curious children about their work.
Despite the myriads of details that went into such a large-scale event, everything went smoothly. “Organization was phenomenal from A to Z,” says Esther Davidoff, Co-Founder and Director of Simxa Organization, who directed the construction of one of the floats, jointly with the BTM smicha program and Rochel Guidry, the float designer. Mrs. Davidoff explains that she received a detailed email with clear instructions a month before the event which guided her team in constructing their float. “We were very impressed with the parade itself,” she adds. “There were no mishaps. Everyone was happy.”
“There was joy in the street,” says Rabbi Duchman. “It was a day of joy for the young and old.” He added that an attendee expressed his amazement, saying, “You brought the spirit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai to Los Angeles.”
Other attendees were inspired by the event, calling it a tremendous kiddush Hashem. The memories of this Lag B’Omer will remain with the attendees for years to come.