Preparations Underway for Nikelsburg’s Eagerly Anticipated Lag B’Omer Hadlaka
Boro Park— With thousands of men, women and children expected to throng to Boro Park for a gala Lag B’Omer celebration at the Nikelsburg Beis Medrash, preparations are already underway for the massive event under the auspices of Grand Rabbi Mordechai Jungreis shlit’a. With its awe inspiring hadlaka, joyous singing, leibidic dancing and elevated atmosphere, the annual celebration has become known as Meron in Nikelsburg
The festivities will begin on May 22nd after Maariv and the Rebbe’s well known Sefiras Haomer at 4912 16th Avenue, where once again, the entire street will be close off to accommodate the crowds. The NYPD has promised extra security for the event and, as in previous years, there will be a designated area for women and girls across the street.
Rabbi Jungreis is well known for his ability to make every person, of every age, feel at home in his presence and in keeping with that spirit of welcoming there will be plenty of drinks and refreshments on hand, with popcorn, cotton candy and other treats for the children. Bow and arrow sets and light up toys will also be available to delight the younger set, all sponsored by generous donors.
The Rebbe will be distributing olive oil to fuel the pyre before it is lit and candles will also be available to honor the memory of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who spread the light of Torah far and wide through his Torah teachings. There will be live music, singing and dancing after the bonfire is lit, recreating the atmosphere of unbridled joy and spiritual elevation experienced by those who celebrate in Meron. Several years ago, one man who had spent many Lag B’Omers in Meron but was unable to make the trip that particular year commented that the celebrations in Nikelsburg had imbued him with the same joy and kedusha, albeit on a smaller scale, that he had experienced in his numerous visits to Meron.
It is that same sense of overflowing simcha that continues to draw thousands to Nikelsburg every year, with some coming from as far away as the Catskills to participate in the festivities and others bringing their three year old sons for their first chalaka. Many admit that they wait all year for Lag B’Omer in Nikelsburg, enjoying the achdus and cheerful atmosphere. It’s hard not to be inspired by the true simcha that fills the air, and hearing Rabbi Jungreis leading the crowd in traditional Lag B’Omer nigunim infuses the event with a special sense of kedusha, linking the joy on the streets of Boro Park to Meron celebrations that date back hundreds of years.
The Rebbe himself is a powerful draw, known for the warmth that he exudes that makes every person feel instantly at home in Nikelsburg, both in Boro Park and in the Nikelsburg Beis Medrash in Woodbourne that draws tens of thousands of people during the summer months. Members of the NYPD always receive a public thank you from Rabbi Jungreis for providing security and crowd control and the Rebbe never thinks twice about placing his own shtreimel on the head of a downtrodden bochur, showering him with brachos and easing his worries.
While Rabbi Jungreis had publicly celebrated Lag B’Omer for many years, the annual 16th Avenue festivities began 14 years ago when he and several followers began dancing on the sidewalk after Maariv. Attracted by the singing and dancing, others joined in and since that time the Nikelsburg Beis Medrash has been the place to be on Lag B’Omer, with an increasing number of people flocking to Boro Park each year from all over Brooklyn and far beyond.
As always, everyone is invited to enjoy a taste of Meron in Brooklyn as Nikelsburg celebrates the hilula of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai with hours of singing and dancing around the hadlaka. Be sure to stop and greet the Rebbe and receive his blessings!