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The Schmooze

Why Jews Traditionally Make Bonfires On Lag B’Omer — And Eat BBQ And Smores

Today, like many, many other days on the Jewish calendar, is a Jewish holiday. It’s Lag B’omer, the 33rd day in the 49-day countdown between Passover and Shavuot, which serves as a break from the Omer, a traditional quasi-mourning period (more on that here). On Lag B’omer, observant Jews get married (and they do, in droves), throw parties around bonfires, and indulge in a nice haircut. It’s a break from a spiritual cleanse.

To honor this minor holiday, here’s the Forward’s official guide to this gem of a lesser-known holiday.

An explainer for this unexpected holiday.

The story of how the flames often get out of hand.

The primeval flame of the bonfire, mixed with the wild, acidic flavor of the eggplant, adds up to a delicious experience your ancestors might have eaten as well.

And for dessert — some gourmet s’mores.

A hot take on the ethics of intolerance, and some sobering food for thought.

How to reclaim the holiday as a joyful haven in times of sorrow.

Happy Lag B’omer!

Shira Feder is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at

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