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The air is thick with woodsmoke.
From above, thousands of orange flickering flares can be seen, dotting the darkened landscape.
An entire country flooded with the sticky, overpowering smell of burnt wood and scorched meat.
Tonight is Lag Ba'Omer - the 33rd day in the count of the Omer, the jewish tradition of counting the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, in which fires are lit in remembrance of the signal fires lit by Bar Cochva in order to declare the beggining of the revolt against the Romans 2000 years ago.

Every year, children and teens start gathering firewood, stealing from construction sites and abandoned warehouses, stashing up in secret locations in anticipation for this day.
In some places, eggs are planted in the ground to rot, to serve in the wars between campfires.
Kebabs, hotdogs and potatos are bought in great quantities and the different groups of kids gather to the destined campfire spot as if summoned to warbanners, bringing their stashed up firewood on rafts, skateboards and "borrowed" shopping carts.

As one walks, the sounds of clumsy guitar chords drift along with shrieks of laughter and firecrackers on the heavy smoke-filled air.

We are not having a kumzitz (the traditional name for such a fire) today, since most of us are no longer free on weekdays - some are in the army and some are someplace else, far away. But this weekend, we'll light our own signal fire and take part in a wonderful israeli tradition - getting trashed by a campfire and eating bad meat.
see you there!


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August 2015

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