This year, however, with New York still on PAUSE due to the coronavirus, the neighborhood’s Chabad reformatted its fifth annual celebration to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Coordinated in collaboration with the 112th Precinct, Tuesday’s festivities featured a parade of vehicles fashioned into floats passing through the streets of Forest Hills, Rego Park and Corona.
“We hope that this effort will boost the spirits of our community during these hard times,” said Rabbi Eli Blokh, director of Chabad of Rego Park.
The event follows a string of services and campaigns the organization has brought forth since the pandemic began, including a “Home Security Campaign against Anti-Semitism” and a “Passover Food and Financial Support Campaign.”
Most recently, Chabad of Rego Park launched its “Education during Quarantine Campaign,” which offers students an over-the-phone Jewish teacher. The program is accessible at chabadrego.org/torah.
Lag Ba’Omer celebrates joy and the resilience of the Jewish people, but this year, that meaning resonates even stronger than usual. The holiday commemorates a celebration that occurred nearly 2,000 years ago, when a plague that killed thousands - among them 24,000 disciples of renowned Rabbi Akiva - ended.
“We’re hoping we will have another party soon,” said Breina Baila Borenstein of the Rego Park Chabad, “to celebrate the end of this pandemic as well.”