KIHEI - The Jewish Congregation of Maui will be celebrating Lag Ba'Omer with a bonfire at the Kihei synagogue Sunday, beginning at 6:15 p.m.
The Omer runs for the 49 days between Passover, the Jewish exodus from Egypt, and Shavuot, the giving of the Torah. A plague broke out among sage Rabbi Akiva's students during the Omer and killed 24,000 men in 33 days.
Today, people of the Jewish faith mourn during the Omer. Men do not cut or shave their hair, and weddings are not performed.
On the 33rd day, Jews end the mourning and celebrate the end of the plague. Weddings are held. Often little boys have their first haircuts. Bonfires are built.
Two other major events are marked on this day.
The death of the famous mystic sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, whom many believe to have authored the Zohar/The Book of Splendor, is remembered. The covenant God created with Noah and his family to never flood the Earth with water again also is acknowledged. Tradition has it that teachers take their children to the woods to play with bows and rubber-tipped arrows. The bows reminds Jews of the sign of the Noahide Covenant, a rainbow in the sky.
Those attending the bonfire may bring their own picnic dinner and partake in the singing and dancing.