Preparations for Lag B’omer in Postville, Iowa, began right after Pesach, and the festivities included two bonfires, a rally and parade, a fair, bbq, a bounce house, and more.
As soon as Pesach ends in Postville, Iowa, you can hear the sound of drums as the oldest class in Cheder Oholei Menachem begins marching band practice. The bochurim in Yeshivas Bais Shalom as well as students in both Cheder and Bais Chaya Mushka all begin designing their floats. The police are contacted, the city fairgrounds reserved, and the countdown begins: Lag Ba’omer is coming!
The festivities began the evening before Lag Ba’omer with a beautiful children’s bonfire. Graciously hosted in the backyard of a local family, this event was perfect for the youngest community members.
There was a bonfire, Pesukim, roasted marshmallows, and even a spectacular juggling show! All of this was done in the early evening so that even the youngest children were able to participate.
Later that night, after Maariv, crowds gathered once again in the family’s yard, this time for a huge community bonfire, complete with much singing and dancing.
Boruch Hashem, this year, Lag Ba’omer day was sunny and beautiful. The classes which had to finish their floats came to school early to get to work. After davening, the programs began. The entire school (and many parents) went to the local park where a Tzivos Hashem rally was held. First came a few words of Divrei Torah by one of the Cheder Rabbeim, followed by Pesukim, led by students from all different grades.
After the rally, it was time for the parade. In a unique scene of Achdus and Jewish pride, men, women, and children all marched down the street together. The parade was led by the Cheder marching band, and conducted by one of the bochurim from the yeshiva.
Following the band were fire trucks, floats, ATVs, and of course, all the soldiers of Tzivos Hashem. There was even a tractor pulling a wagon of the youngest soldiers, the babies and toddlers! The rest of the community members followed, either behind or alongside the children.
This year, the parade marched down the main street, maximizing the Kiddush Hashem impact. Many of the non-Jews in town lined up on the sidewalks or looked out their windows to watch this amazing display of Yiddishe pride. Even some classes from the local Public School came out to watch!
After the parade reached the local fairgrounds, everyone was treated to delicious treats and refreshments, all sponsored by local families. The bochurim made sure to keep the chayus going with spirited dancing. Then it was time to go home and rest up before the next part of the day.
In the late afternoon, the entire town gathered once more for a barbecue and family event which is arranged each year by Mrs. Rashi Raices, the dedicated principal. Snow cones, cotton candy, barbecue; everything was beautifully prepared by local fathers and run by the oldest classes. There was even a balloon lady to entertain the kids!
Three different types of bounce houses were also arranged to maximize the fun. Everyone stayed for a few hours, enjoying the opportunity to spend time with each other in a relaxed environment.
After such an exciting day, everyone went home happy and tired. Boruch Hashem, just another amazing Lag Ba’omer in Postville.
Special thank you were given to to the Malinas family for hosting the bonfires; Cyprus and Goldstein families for arranging the children’s bonfire; Levi Malinas for arranging the fire trucks and music for the parade; Rabbi Perel and Casey Mahr for helping with the float and wagon; Rabbi Reinhold, Zalmy Yehuda, and Mendy Bass for the BBQ; Chaim Newman for leading the marching band; Mendel Goldstein for the juggling show. Thank you to our sponsors: Agri Star, the Gratsiani family, the Hecht family, and the Greenwald family. And of course, Mrs. Raices and all the school staff and faculty.