Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
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 [email protected]



Thanks for reading this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war and rising antisemitism.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Support our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.