Drenching Rain Could Not Dampen Spirits at Chicago Parade

Drenched to the core, but full of joy, adults and children in Chicago celebrated Lag Baomer as the rain poured down on them. The marchers marched, the floats floated, and it was a memory they will never forget.

“Raging waters cannot extinguish the love” for G-d – nor our enthusiasm for the annual lag Baomer parade and fair.

With lag Baomer on Sunday this year, Rabbi Yosef Moscowitz, executive director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, set out to make the absolutely most memorable lag Baomer event in the history of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois’ long-standing tradition of bringing lag Baomer joy to the entire community. With the events of October 7th and the rise of the “tentifada” protests and seething antisemitism, the community was eager to parade their Yiddishkeit proudly.

There were some daunting challenges, as the local park districts and municipalities were scared off by the threat of protests, and even Jewish community organizers canceled their public programming and warned Rabbi Moscowitz that things were “different now.”

Different indeed, it was time to increase the light to dispel the darkness. A nearby suburban schoolyard was secured, increased security was arranged, and more hot dogs and hamburgers than you could count were ordered.

The local schools got excited about the event and shook off their fears and committed to send their choirs and sponsor floats and marching bands. Yeshiva students were recruited, and they assembled the parade, volunteers signed up to work the grill and operate the rides, and the community was excited for the Joey Newcomb concert.

Finally, it was here! The long-awaited date, and somewhere a hammer struck a thumb and the four-letter word was shouted – R-A-I-N!!

It started off as a drizzle and quickly escalated to a full-blown thunderstorm, bracha for lighting and thunder and all. Yet, the show must go on. And what kid doesn’t love playing in the rain?

The marchers marched, the floats floated, and off we went. The hot dogs were a little soggy, but most importantly, people came. As one person put it, “Nothing can quell Jewish enthusiasm and joy – not fear, nor rain!” Everyone came, got wet and enjoyed!

After a few hours of fun in the rain, the concert shifted to the local Chabad Center FREE, operated by Rabbi Levi Notik. The band set up, the cotton candy and the slushies and all the kids and parents and grandparents and they sang and they danced!

As one mother said, “You never would have asked for this, but now that it’s here, it turned out to be a great celebration and a memory we will never forget!”

All cleaned up and dried up and the plans are already in place for Lag Ba’omer 5785 in Yerushalayim with Moshiach!

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