50,000 Expected at Lag Ba’omer Celebration Tonight in Kiryas Yoel


kiryas-yoel-lag-baomer50,000 Satmar Chassidim are expected to celebrate tonight at a massive bonfire in Kiryas Yoel, N.Y. At 9 p.m., Kiryas Yoel will hold its annual bonfire in honor of Lag Ba’omer, with the ¬†celebration being attended by tens of thousands of Satmar Chassidim from all parts of New York.

Traditionally, a large platform is prepared, wood is piled in the center and large amounts of oil are poured on the wood. Slow songs are sung as Rav Aharon Teitelbaum of Satmar, leader of the Satmar kehillah of Kiryas Yoel, ascends the platform and lights the bonfire using a large torch. This is followed by joyous and festive dancing for hours afterwards.

Similar bonfires are held in many Jewish communities, but Kiryas Yoel’s is believed to be the largest such celebration in the United States.¬†Tonight, a turnout of 50,000 is expected, making it the largest frum gathering this year in the United States since this past summer’s Siyum Hashas, for which some 90,000 people gathered at MetLife Stadium.

The origins of this celebration lie in Meron, burial site of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, who yahrtzeit is marked on Lag Ba’omer.

The annual bonfire in Kiryas Yoel was started in the year 2000 by the previous Satmar Rebbe, Rav Moshe Teitelbaum zt”l.

The village of Kiryas Yoel is home to about 25,000 chassidim. Census data released in 2007 showed that Kiryas Yoel was the fastest growing community in New York State, with 51% growth over six years. Most of that is natural growth, and the village had the youngest median age (15.0) of any population center of over 5,000 residents in the United States.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}