Northeast Pennsylvania saw the largest Lag B’Omer celebration in its history on Sunday, May 22 in Wilkes-Barre, where the local Chabad community organized a day of Jewish pride and community unity.
Many visitors traveled from all across the northeast region of the state to participate in this beautiful event. The celebration began with a Jewish Pride Parade featuring beautiful floats promoting the Rebbe’s mivtzoim including Tefillin, Mezuzah, Neshek, Kashrus, Sheva Mitzvos Bnai Noach, and preparing for Moshiach as well as one arranged by the children of the local Cheder Menachem. The floats were led by a marching band of Bochurim from Bais Menachem of Wilkes-Barre, who amazed the crowd with a stellar performance. A local group of Jewish bikers, Jewish War Veterans, and an ambulance from Transmed Ambulance, Inc. also joined the parade, which was escorted by the Wilkes-Barre Police Dept.
The Parade left the JCC in Wilkes-Barre and marched over the Market Street Bridge. The tremendous Kiddush Hashem that took place as traffic stopped and watched the parade was amplified by the children of Cheder Menachem who proudly wore their crowns and carried the signs they had prepared for this special day! The parade concluded at Kirby Park where a Tzivos Hashem rally, with the recitation of the 12 Pesukim, was held for the children.
After the rally everyone enjoyed a wonderful fair and festival featuring pony rides, a petting zoo, an archery contest, a fire juggling show, a moon bounce, and an incredible carnival with great games and prizes. Live music was provided thanks to the talented Rosenberger family of Crown Heights and Bryan Raymond. The band kept the crowd entertained with great music all day! A delicious barbeque organized by Cong. Ohav Zedek, the local Orthodox Shul, followed the carnival. The joyous day concluded with a beautiful bonfire with music and dancing, which brought the entire community together in celebration of a day that has become known for Jewish unity. In all, the event was attended by hundreds of people, from across the spectrum of Jewish observance in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Chabad community of Kingston/Wilkes-Barre has been quietly growing for over 10 years. As former students marry and settle in town with their families, and baalei batim relocate to be part of a warm and vibrant community, a cheder, shul and other communal organizations vital to the growth of a Chabad community have developed. The Lag B’Omer event, a product of this growth, was free to the community thanks to the generosity of its sponsors: Market Rocker, Devra Party Corp., RMS Packaging, Barry Bressler, Dr. Bruce Kirshner, Aaron & Mirit Hershkop, and Factory Direct Party.