Jewish pride filled the air this Lag BaOmer in Forest Hills, as hundreds of Jewish children and adults paraded down 108th Street with joy.
The procession began at the playground of P.S. 175 and concluded at the spacious yard of the Queens Jewish Center. Signs were held up high with messages proclaiming, “It’s cool to attend a Jewish school,” and “I’m a Jew and I’m proud, and I’ll sing it out loud,” a lyric made popular by Jewish musical sensation Benny Freidman from his song “Ivri Anochi.” Floats depicting Jewish objects were followed by a marching band, and a giant screen truck playing a video of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the world Jewish leader who was the force behind the widespread success of the Chabad movement and amongst their many initiatives, the Lag BaOmer Parades.
Following the parade, there was a large gathering that included the reading of Torah passages, an inspiring Jewish story, a fantastic juggling show, and raffles of wonderful high-ticket prizes. The children then had the opportunity to enjoy the family fun rides and activities brought to Forest Hills for the celebratory occasion, including an exciting 22-foot slide, a dizzying obstacle course, a number of bounce houses of all shapes and sizes, as well as entertaining carnival games prepared by the talmidim of the local Chabad yeshivah.
“This gathering is especially significant since this year is Hakhel, a year of unity when the Jewish people in the Holy Temple would gather together to hear the Torah being read by the king of the Jewish nation,” explained Rabbi Shneur Majeski.
“Many of the boys and girls who participated are regular attendees of the Released Time Jewish Hour program,” explained Rabbi Mendel Cohen, one of the Released Time instructors stationed at a local school. Rabbi Cohen is part of a group of volunteers who teach Judaism to Jewish children learning in public school on a weekly schedule. Since its inception in 1941, the Released Time program has educated more than a quarter of a million Jewish boys and girls throughout the New York area with a fun and meaningful Torah education. To learn more about Released Time, visit JewishHour.org.
Special thanks is extended to Police Officers Keith Tuohey and Christopher DeSantis of the 112th precinct for their constant devotion to the Queens community, and for their help in maintaining public safety at this event. Special thanks are also given to Kamin Health Urgent Care for their corporate sponsorship and continued care of our community.