Discuss as:

Orthodox Jews celebrate Lag Ba'omer in Israel and New York

Oded Balilty / AP

Ultra-Orthodox Jews stand next to bonfires during Lag Ba'omer celebrations to commemorate the end of a plague said to have decimated Jews in Roman times, in Bnei Brak, Israel, on May 9, 2012.

Reuters reports — Lag Ba'omer marks the end of a plague that killed thousands of Jewish scholars in ancient times, as well as the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who had rebelled against Roman rule and is believed to be the author of the Zohar, the core text of Kabbalah mysticism. Holiday traditions include lighting bonfires and cutting the hair of three-year-old boys for the first time. 

Previously on PhotoBlog:

Mike Segar / Reuters

A young boy watches a bonfire burn as Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim dance and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'omer in the village of Kiryas Joel, Orange County, New York, on May 9, 2012.

Ammar Awad / Reuters

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys sit in front of girls and women as they look at a bonfire lit on the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood on May 9, 2012.

Ariel Schalit / AP

A man cuts a boy's hair next to the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai during Lag Ba'omer celebrations at Mt. Meron in northern Israel, on May 10, 2012.

Mike Segar / Reuters

Men of the Orthodox Jewish Satmar Hassidim crowd the steps of a synagogue (backround) as women of the sect stand in a separate area (front) as they celebrate Lag Ba'omer in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York, on May 9, 2012.

Nir Elias / Reuters

An ultra-Orthodox woman prays during traditional festivities for Lag Ba'omer near the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mount Meron in northern Israel on May 10, 2012.