Rabbi David Cohen, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen with son Jeremy officially welcome the large crowd to City Hall and begin the parade

Lag BaOmer (Hebrew: ל״ג בעומר‎), is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar.

This day marks the hillula (celebration, interpreted by some as anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day on which he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. This association has spawned several well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the tomb of Bar Yochai in the northern Israeli town of Meron, and various customs at the tomb itself.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, encouraged Lag BaOmer parades to be held in Jewish communities around the world as a demonstration of Jewish unity and pride.[1] Chabad sponsors parades as well as rallies, bonfires and barbecues for thousands of participants around the world each year.[2]

Such is the case each year in Montreal. Sunday morning, amid light rain, Rabbi David Cohen of the Chabad Lubavitch Youth Organization brought the festive parade to Cote Saint-Luc. I was proud to help welcome the large crowd along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Anthony Housefather, Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. The weather may have been damp but spirits were not dampened.

“We thank our friends Housefather, Brownstein and Nashen for always welcoming and attending our events and supporting the religious community,” said Rabbi Cohen.

M.P. Housefather remarked, “Enjoy the Lag BaOmer celebrations, the change of seasons and renewal, and thank you to all the mothers for giving us life and nurturing us all.”

Said Mayor Brownstein, “Cote Saint-Luc is a wonderful blend of many religions, a large Jewish community – religious, traditional and secular. Everyone is welcome.”

Rabbi Cohen passed the microphone to me and I was proud to exclaim to my fellow Yiddish-speakers, “Zait bagrist tzu Cote Saint-Luc. Ir zolt hoben a gut yontif un a guten tog!” (Welcome to CSL. I wish you a happy holiday and a great day).