Throughout the pandemic, Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois has found ways to celebrate each Yom Tov using creativity and determination, and Lag B’omer was no different, with a festival and concert arranged in accordance of all local regulations.
As winter turns to spring and the frost thaws – excitement builds for outdoor activities, and in Illinois, every year hundreds start eagerly looking forward to Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois’ annual Lag B’Omer Family Festival.
Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz, executive director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, spearheads this much-anticipated event every year. Rides, concerts, food and fun have lit up this special day for more than a decade. When the pandemic cancelled everything in 2020, Rabbi Moscowitz’s determination and creativity designed a mobile parade, outfitting 15 pick-up trucks with inspirational messages that paraded throughout Chicagoland bringing hope and happiness to the sheltered in Place.
As the world begins to open up and dip its toes in the waters of normalcy, Rabbi Moscowitz and his devoted committee reached out to the Skokie Village to see if an in-person event would be possible. After much discussion and assurances, they secured a permit for a concert in the park.
Searle Park in Western Skokie can accommodate close to 700 adhering to social distance guidelines. Although that number would limit the standard crowd, as we have all learned to be flexible and adjust to the CDC instructions, and here to it would have to do. A website and publicity went up, and pre-registration was made mandatory. The first 700 to sign up were welcomed.
The weather looked more 2020 than festive, as rain drizzled down on the early arrivers. Eventually, the sun made an appearance and joined the fun, drying out the 6’ foot spaced lawn chairs and blankets as the crowd grabbed their burgers and popcorn and settled in for the fun.
Rogers Park, the band named for their hometown neighborhood, was the highlight performer. As they sang and people clapped along and children ran around and celebrated the joy of Lag B’omer filled the chilly evening and spirits lifted up along the dancing feet, the crowd celebrated together like they haven’t in more than 15 months.
As they have throughout the pandemic, from Seder in a Box to Shofar in the Street and Purim on the Porch, Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois brought Jewish joy in a safe and celebratory manner to the community