Although their usual Lag B’Omer celebration couldn’t take place due to the pandemic, Riverdale Shluchim Rabbi Levi and Sarah Shemtov, brought Lag B’Omer joy to the streets of their community.
This was certainly not the usual Lag B’omer. For over 25 years, Chabad of Riverdale had been celebrating this day with an enormous picnic in a public park, with rides and shows for the entire community. While that certainly couldn’t be this year, Chabad still managed to bring joy to the streets of this Riverdale.
The challenge of course was how to reach as many people as possible, and yet be as safe as possible? So Rabbi Levi and Sarah Shemtov, Shluchim of the Rebbe to Riverdale and the Bronx, hired a music truck and a fire juggler that would enable children to hear and see the simcha from the safety of their buildings.
In total, 12 locations across this diverse community were visited, with each location having about 100 people waiting with smiles, and to be uplifted and united.
Here are a few of the messages we received: “I want to thank you for bringing joy to Riverdale! The music reminded me of being in the hospital for a month many years ago: I was sad and couldn’t sleep—until I got into the habit of listening to Chassidish music and negunim—I would imagine dancing and I’d fall asleep with a smile! Thank you for all that you do for so many people.” — M.S.
“Yasher Koach, and thank you so much for today. Incredible! We had such a great time and it really felt like Lag Bomer!” — N.R.
“Beautiful Lag B’Omer event. One of our kids’ morahs was there and said, “I had no idea there was so much Jewish life in Riverdale.” We also had a wonderful time in Seton Park with the Frisbees you gave us! You got all of us out and had a holy, memorable time. Yasher koyach!” — M.R.
“Thank you! All the young families in our building are talking about the Lag B’omer music truck and fire juggler that you brought to our building, their kids really enjoyed it. What an amazing bracha it was for the whole community. One mother repeated what her four year old told her after watching the fire juggler, that, “this is the best day in my life.” — S.R.
May this Lag B’omer Simcha lead us to the ultimate Simcha with Moshiach Tzidkenu, and during this time, may we all be inspired to find creative solutions for continuing to safely serve our communities!