By: Ariela Jaimovich
This past Thursday, thousands of Jews gathered at Mount Meron to celebrate Lag Baomer. As one of the first events following the lift of Covid restrictions in Israel, it was intended to be a very festive occasion. Many were joyously dancing and jumping, but the limited space caused it to become extremely crowded. As participants began to leave, a fatal crush occurred, causing the tragic loss of forty five men. While there is conflicting information surrounding the cause of the crush, no one can deny that the loss of lives and the injuries that occured that night are tragic.
As the news of the tragedy began to spread, Dr. Jones sent out an email to all students, parents, and staff, informing everyone of the situation in Meron. After such a hard year of not being able to congregate and celebrate, people in Israel were finally able to rejoice in their past ways. For the event to culminate in such a tragic manner was a shock to everyone. He asked everyone to say Tehillim to uplift the neshamot and bring a refuah to those who were injured.
“I was surprised because I could never imagine that such a horrible tragedy would occur on a celebratory day. The first thing I did was research what had happened but it was not so simple”, said Sophie Lurie (9th grade). “There were different stories of what happened, and I didn’t know which to believe. It was scary not knowing what was going on and I hope this never happens again.”
Many struggle to understand how such tragedy could have struck at what was intended to be a happy event. During times of devastation, everyone asks “why” and “how”. Unfortunately, there are no answers that can bring comfort to those mourning. These types of catastrophes are truly not understandable on a human level.
Mrs. Schapiro, who had two young relatives pass away at this tragic event, said “ It hit home…. I was a little bit confused in the sense that they were all going to celebrate the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. One of my family members said ‘till now my two boys went to this yeshiva, and now my two sons are in the yeshiva of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.’ When someone says that to you, what are you going to say? Nothing. They were such sweet kids.”
The whole school, as well as the entire Jewish community, is deeply saddened by this devastating event. This is truly a tragedy that all of us will recall for the rest of our lives. Every Lag Baomer will now mark the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai as well as the forty-five special souls who passed away at Mount Meron.