Community Board 12 Issues Letter Advising of Cancelations of Lag B’Omer Celebratory Gatherings

Community Board 12 Issues Letter Advising of Cancelations of Lag B’Omer Celebratory Gatherings

Community Board 12 is advising all residents, congregations, and community organizations that there will be no Lag B’omer celebratory fires this year. In years past, Community Board 12 planned and coordinated the celebration of numerous bonfires to celebrate Lag B’omer. Various city agencies, such as the FDNY, NYPD and DSNY, participate in the planning and execution of these fires to ensure the safety of all. Due to the pandemic, the City has issued a directive that no street events be allowed through June. The Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) has therefore denied all permits that have been filed throughout the city, including all Lag B’omer permit applications. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the existing executive order, there is no way to safely and legally coordinate the Lag B’omer celebrations as usual.

Neither public nor private bonfires are allowed. The dangers bonfires pose in private property cannot be overstated. It is incumbent upon all to prioritize safety. Aside from the danger, it is illegal according to the Governor’s Executive Order 202. The order banning gatherings of any kind also applies to gatherings held on private property. Enforcement of the Order includes fines and/or up to arrest.

Community Board 12 has a special connection to this day as we work hard every year planning and coordinating the seamless celebration of these events, from the required street closures to support from government agencies for these events. Furthermore, we happily participate at the various bonfires throughout the district as well as the annual Lag B’omer parade at Gravesend Park. And we will do so next year again.

Although we are all anxious to resume life as usual, this pandemic is still rampant. COVID-19 is a contagious virus passed around through close proximity with a carrier of the virus, even asymptomatic ones. Social distancing guidelines have been enacted by the government to contain the spread of this pandemic. And since celebrating Lag B’omer within the legal boundaries and the proper social distancing required to avoid spreading the pandemic is impossible, we must abstain. Instead, we will commemorate the holiday from home for the sake of the vulnerable in our midst.

We look forward to the end of this pandemic and resuming celebrations as usual. Next year we will celebrate again with the extra appreciation gained by the memory of a celebration not held. And proud of the knowledge that forgoing this year’s celebration will lead to more participants in next year’s celebration.

“I am grateful that the community at large has been cooperating with the social distancing requirements put in place for our safety,” said Community Board 12 Chairman, “and even though it is not easy, we will stay home alone this year instead of celebrating together. I want to also commend the NYPD, DSNY and all essential employees, especially healthcare workers, for continuing to keep the city up, running, and safe” added Perlstein.

“I would like to thank our great partners in public service for the incredible efforts they put in every year for the Lag B’omer and other celebrations. The partnerships we have with the FDNY, NYPD and DSNY are very impressive, as indicated by the lengths they will go to in other to ensure celebrations remain happy occasions not marred by tragedy. They have already said they are looking forward to providing the same level of service at next year’s Lag B’omer celebrations. I also want to thank every single person who is doing their part in combating this pandemic by staying home this year instead of going out,” said District Manager Barry Spitzer.

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