Thursday, May 7, 2015

Interfaith Days: Lag B'Omer, National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. The original legislation establishing the day passed during President Truman's administration in 1952, although similar days date back to the 1770s. During President Reagan's administration, the day was set at the first Thursday of May. The National Day of Prayer is an interfaith occasion.
Today is also Lag B'Omer, a minor Jewish holiday between Passover and Shavuot. "Lag" refers to the two Hebrew letters, lamed and gimmel, that numerically stand for 33, while "Omer" is the forty-nine days between the two major holidays, thus Lag B'omer is the 33rd day of counting the Omer. It is also the anniversary of the death of the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and it also commemorates the second century CE Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire. Amid the more solemn days of Omer period, this day instead features picnics, bonfires, and other festivities.

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