Lag B'Omer begins on Wednesday May 22nd 2019. Private vehicles are not allowed to travel to Meron on Lag B'Omer or on the days immediately preceeding or suceeding. The best option is to come by bus. Buses run to and from Tzfat every 15 minutes throughout the day. (A full account of traffic arrangements from the Israel Police can be found below)
According to Jewish tradition, the 49 days that separated the Exodus from Egypt (Pesach/Passover) and the Giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai (Shavouth) is a solemn time in the Jewish calendar. It is referred to as the "Sephirat HaOmer" -- counting of the Omer, and is an important time of Kabbalistic meaning. Observant Jews count each day of the Omer and observe a number of mourning traditions, including refraining from cutting hair, hearing music and celebrating weddings and other festive occasions.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, one of the redactors of the Talmud and, according to Jewish belief, the writer of the basic book of Kabbalah -- The Zohar -- died on "Lag B'Omer," the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer. From early times, Jews combined his memory by combining the anniversary of his passing with a mini-holiday that commemorated the end of a plague amongst the students of another Talmudic sage, Rabbi Akiva. This day served as a "break" in the Omer and activities that were prohibited otherwise during the Counting of the Omer were permitted on Lag B'Omer.
Safed and Lag B'Omer
When the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, came to Tzfat in 1570, he instituted a number of new customs that linked Jewish mysticism with conventional Jewish rituals, among them a Lag B'Omer pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Tsfat, located a 4-hour walk from the tomb of the "Rashbi," was the logical point from which pilgrims would set off on their pilgrimage. Since the 16th century, Tsfat and Lag B'Omer have been intertwined.
Today, by virtue of a Knesset law, formal celebrations for Lag B'Omer begin with the Torah procession that begins in Tzfat's Kikar Abu erev (the day before) Lag B'Omer (scroll down for more details).
Bonfires are lit throughout the city to commemorate the soldiers of Bar Kochba who fought against the Romans in the 2nd century C.E. The central bonfire is on Mt. Meron but throughout Tsfat neighborhoods gather to light their own bonfires. Some of the largest and most active bonfires are in the Hassidic neighborhoods of Kiryat Chabad (Canaan northern neighborhood), Meor Chaim (Darom-Southern neighborhood) and Kiryat Breslev (just below the Old Jewish Quarter on HaAri Street).
Security, Safety and Traffic Arrangements from the Israel Police
* The arrival of the celebration will be permitted only by public transport and organized transportation.
*Organized transportation from Tzfat to Meron will leave from the Central Bus Station, Lochamei Getaot neighborhood (under Agamim School), Maor Haim neighborhood, and the entrance to Nof Kinneret.
* Public transportation throughout the country leading north and Miron in particular will be significantly enhanced in order to allow the guests to arrive comfortably and safely to the compound itself.
* The Israel Railways will operate as far as the Karmiel station according to the regular timetable of the Israel Railways, and from there continue to Meron via paid public transportation.
* Downloading and gathering of celebrants who arrive by public transportation, will be carried out near the site at regular intervals.
It is hereby clarified that travel by public transportation will bring the celebrants to the site of the revelations safely, quickly and with maximum comfort.
For passengers on public transportation, refreshment stations were set up on Route 6 - "Alonit", on Route 722 - Hashomrim Junction and on Route 90 - Bezeq Checkpoint.
Buses of private transportation companies will be directed to the parking lots in Ein Hozim Tivon and Pardot. From there, the celebrants will be transported to the site through free shuttle service.
* The parking lots and pedestrian routes leading to them will continue to be marked in accordance with the color of the ticket, in order to make it easier for the celebrants to arrive at the site and leave. The colors are: red, yellow, blue and green - the color of the new terminal (Terminal 89) established for the benefit of the celebrants.
* At every stage during the celebration, it is absolutely forbidden for the celebrants to walk on the roads leading to the site for fear of endangering their lives.
It is very important to convey messages and emphasis to the public of the road users and to the public of celebrants even before the event.
* It will not be possible to arrive at and near the Hillula compound, in private vehicles throughout the main stage of the event as mentioned above. There is no point in trying to get around the checkpoints because a large force of police from the traffic system will spread along the traffic arteries and the dirt roads leading to Meron.
* We will emphasize that private vehicles will not be allowed to park in open areas and on the sides of the road. Vehicles parked illegally, in contravention of the regulations, will be towed and their owners will bear the towing costs.
* The following routes will be blocked for private vehicles as of Wednesday, May 2, 18:00, until the end of the event: *
Route 866 - From Hanania junction towards Meron.
Highway 89 - From the Hiram junction to the Eliflet interchange, in both directions (via the Gush Halav junction).
Route 886 - From Dalton Junction to Ein Zeitim Square.
Route 8900 - From the forest junction of Biriya to Ein Zeitim Square.
Entrance or exit from Safed will be possible via road 8900, only from Rosh Pina (driving on road 89 will be possible only to the east of the Eliflet junction).*
* In addition, the public of road users must take into account that, as necessary, during the days of the Hillula there is a possibility of blocking the following interurban routes:
Road 65 - From Tzalmon to Kadarim (according to need).
Road 85 - From Rama Junction to Amiad Junction, in both directions (as needed).
Hundreds of policemen will be deployed on routes leading to Meron in order to provide service to road users and the public.
* Drivers must be patient and obey the instructions and instructions of the police. *
Some things to do in Tzfat before, during and after the Lag B'Omer Festivities
The traditional parade that formally launches Lag B'Omer begins in Kikar Abu in the Old Jewish Quarter on erev Lag B'Omer. This year it begins on Wednesday May 22nd, at noon. According to a tradition that began in the 1800s, the Torah scroll is removed from the home of the Abu family in Kikar Abu (Abu Square) amidst music and celebration. The participants dance with it through the Old Jewish Quarter, up to the main street where shop owners put out food and drinks for the celebrants. The Torah scroll arrives at the bus station where it is transported to Mt. Meron for the Lag B'Omer festivities at the grave of the Rashbi. For More Information about the tradition
The Tzfat Municipality invites its residents to join the traditional annual parade with the Torah from Beit Abu. Festivities will begin at noon on Wednesday, May 22 with live Klezmer music, the parade at 2 pm, entertainment for children on the Midrachov at 4 pm, and wrapping up with a performance by Gute Gute at 5:30 pm. Join for all or part of this unforgettable experience!
There are accommodations in Safed to match any budget if you want to stay in the city overnight. Many people come to Safed to experience the Lag B'Omer festivities in Safed before heading to Meron at night or the next morning.
Lag B'Omer Transportation
Buses run between Tsfat and Meron every 15 minutes throughout Lag B'Omer night (Saturday night) and into the next day (Sunday). The buses to Mt. Meron leave from the Central Bus Station and return to the bus station. You can come to Tzfat and take a bus from Tzfat to Meron or you can book a seat on the Nateeve Express bus line from other areas of the country (for phone information, call *3353). More information about Tsfat transportation can be found here.
If you would like to walk to Meron from Safed, you can walk the Wadi Amud trail that begins below the Safed cemetery. The trail takes approximately 4 hours to complete and brings you to the grave of the Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai). Hikers are advised to bring several liters of water with them as they walk the trail. The trail is a popular one and, especially during the spring, one of Israel's most beautiful nature sites.
Security, Safety and Traffic Arrangements Continued
* Instructions for residents / guests living near Meron:
*Residents who live near Meron will be permitted to travel on the specified routes, only by presenting an identity card and an updated annex indicating their place of residence. * Guests who have ordered guest rooms in these communities will check with the hosts that they have forwarded their latest details to the Israel Police:
* The cluster of communities in Safed: * (Safed, Akbara, Kadita, Alma, Dalton and Biriya) The entrance of the vehicles will be possible only through the Eliflet interchange, the Rosh Pina intersection, the Dalton junction and Ein Zeitim Square only - vehicles will not be allowed to enter other intersections.
* Cluster of Gush Halav settlements: * Tzivun, Gush Halav, Safsufa, Or HaGanuz and Bar Yohai. Vehicle entry will be possible through Tzolon junction and Gush Halav junction and only to Bar Yochai junction.
* Eshkol communities of Hanania: * Ein El Assad, Farud, Amirim, Shefer and Kfar Shammai. The entrance of vehicles will be possible through Tzivun junction and Gush Halav junction and only to Bar Yochai junction.
* Residents of Meron presenting their identity card and current annex will be able to enter the Meron settlement only from the Gush Halav junction (Route 89) and the Tzulon Junction only. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter other intersections *.
* Guests in the Meron settlement whose details were transferred to the Israel Police by the hosts * will be able to enter with their vehicles to Meron only from the Gush Halav junction (road 89) and Tzulon junction only * until 12:00 noon Wednesday *, these vehicles will remain in Meron until the end of the hilula Late Thursday night.
* Due to the changes in traffic arrangements, drivers need to pay attention to road signs and road signs and to listen to the media.
* The police will provide ongoing and vital information to the public, before and after the incident through the police hotline (not the emergency hotline) and the media.
* In no event will the passengers be flown in the area of the incident in Meron and the enforcement will be carried out in accordance with the law.
* Children / adults with special needs lost: *
The Israel Police, together with ZAKA, opened a position towards the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on the right.
The position will take place from Tuesday, May 18, at 12:00 noon until the end of the event on Thursday May 3rd.
* Children and adults with special needs are given the opportunity to sign up with phone numbers of the parents or the responsible adult so that in the event that an adult / child is lost, the person responsible can be easily identified by the bracelet.
מצ"ב מפת התמצאות הילולת הרשב"י המסומנת על פי הצבעים* In addition to any case where a child / adult is lost, it is possible to call from any phone to 1220 or reach Zaka's position, ZAKA volunteers and the Israel Police will work to locate the missing person.
Already at this stage, the volunteers distribute in their schools and kindergartens bracelets with the parents' phone numbers, so that during the celebration the children will wear the bracelets and if they are lost they will be easily identified so far.
* The Israel Police calls upon the public to observe the following safety rules:
🔹 Do not climb electric poles / fences / caravans / bus stops / trees and move only on roads marked for pedestrians.
🔹 Keep the young children close to the adult and do not remove the eyes from the children, taking into consideration the human urge created in the place, give the children a hand or put them on the shoulders.
🔹 It is recommended that you pass through the ZAKA center on the right side to take bracelets for children or adults with special needs, and to explain that in the event that someone is lost, the responsible parent / adult will wait for him in the corner of Zaka's center.
🔹 Make sure you drink plenty in particular in warm weather
🔹 The public is asked to obey the orders of the police and the ushers and refrain from being pushed into the area of the fire.
The Israel Police is prepared for every scenario and when necessary, a public address system will be activated in various languages and instructions will be given to the public accordingly.
* During the event, a public information center will be opened.
* The Information Center will address all issues from Tuesday, May 1st, 18:00, to 3:00 PM, at 23:00, by phone: 1-700-500-679.
The telephone number of the Israel Police Information Center is 110
The phone number for the Lost Children's Call Center is: 1220 from each phone.