Rabbi Small’s Monthly Message- May

In May we will celebrate Lag BaOmer on the 33rd day of the Omer (May 26). The Omer is the 49-day period when we count the days between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. During this time, we integrate the blessings from Passover into our lives and anticipate the holiday of the giving of the Torah, Shavuot.

Lag BaOmer honors Rabbi Akiva’s resilience, despite the plague that spread among his disciples. Not only did Rabbi Akiva’s message of strength resonate, but he and his students were able to rebuild and become stronger than before. One of Rabbi Akiva’s students, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai became the shining example of what it means to live with the Torah in a positive way. We can learn from this the powerful ability to overcome adversity, rebound from setbacks, and grow together toward a promising future.

Today, we are faced with challenges both in Israel and across the world. However, despite these challenges, we have shown time after time our resilience and resolve to be our best and that we are stronger together.

The message of Lag BaOmer teaches us that we are all resilient, and together we can make the world into a place of peace, prosperity, and unity. May we seize every opportunity to share in the blessings at the JAA and in the world around us.

In addition to Lag BaOmer, this month holds significance with other days of commemoration and celebration. On May 6, we observed Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, honoring the lives and the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. A week later, on May 13, we will mark Yom Hazikaron, a memorial day for soldiers who lost their lives defending the State of Israel. The following day, May 14, we will celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. These days remind us of the importance of remembering our past, and despite the difficulties we have faced, that together we can build a stronger and better future together.

-Rabbi Dovid Small