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Rockville Centre synagogue hosts Lag B’Omer BBQ

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It was a warm, sunny day last Sunday when Congregation B’nai Sholom-Beth David hosted its Lag B’Omer BBQ. It was the synagogue’s first in-person event in more than a year.

With tables set up in the parking lot outside the temple, dozens of people gathered for the Covid-friendly fundraiser to celebrate Lag B’Omer and mark the end of a historically sad period of time.

Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer according to the Hebrew calendar. Dan Seid, the congregation’s educational director and principal of the religious school, described the holiday as a day to mark the ending of a traditionally sad period in the Jewish religion.

It represents a break from tragedy, including plagues that killed many people thousands of years ago.

“And we know that that connects with coronavirus,” Seid said, “because we’re hoping that now is like a break in the tragedy that we’ve all had with coronavirus . . . so it’s like a celebration of a ceasing of tragedy and a new beginning — a regrowth.”

Hot dogs, hamburgers and other foods were cooked on the grill while children played games, won prizes and tried their hand at an obstacle course.

Rabbi David Lerner, Cantor Alexandra Weiser, synagogue board chair Ira Salwen and Seid performed a skit to explain the history behind the holiday to the children and guests.

Most communications have been conducted virtually over the last year, but congregants were excited to meet in person again.

“The last time we were together was the end of February,” said Nancy Hochhauser, vice president of the temple’s board. “It’s nice to be back.”

Salwen echoed the sentiment.

“After a year of seeing everybody on Zoom,” he said, “it’s nice to be able to come together and see each other in person.”

“It’s always great when we’re with our temple family, and especially in good weather,” said Martin Skolnick, the synagogue’s board president, “but as things have opened up a little bit more we’re becoming a community. Zoom is great but . . .”

“It only goes so far,” Salwen said.