(JTA) — London’s fire and rescue service gave a statement reminding Jewish congregations to keep holiday bonfires outdoors after the city’s Jewish News outlet shared video of a synagogue celebrating Lag B’Omer with an indoor fire last week.
The video showed a fire raging inside Beis Medrash Beis Shmuel, a haredi Orthodox synagogue in Golders Green, a heavily Jewish neighborhood of London.
FLAMING MORONS – Golders Green synagogue holds Lag BaOmer bonfire celebration INDOORS due to rain.
Flames three-feet high, lit by Rabbi Moshe Halpern, brother of Rabbi Chaim Halpern, soar inside the main Charedi synagogue in Golders Green as dozens of children watch on. pic.twitter.com/XvMM34C1al
— Jewish News (@JewishNewsUK) May 16, 2023
The congregation purportedly started the fire indoors because of rainy local conditions on the holiday.
Under traditional Jewish law, Lag B’Omer is the one day in the mourning period between Passover (often in April) and Shavuot (often in late May or early June) on which observant Jews can do certain things such as get a haircut or hold weddings. Bonfires are often used to mark the celebratory day.
“Though we are keen to see communities enjoying the festival of Lag b’Omer, we don’t want to see anyone harmed as a result. You should never build a bonfire indoors,” the London Fire Brigade told the Jewish News. “It’s easy for fires to quickly spread out of control, putting properties and people’s lives at risk.”
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