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Manager of Meron shul: Stop bonfire lightings, they’re only to make money

The gabai, or manager, of Mt. Meron’s local synagogue tells Channel 12 he believes the growing trend in recent years of more and more bonfire lighting ceremonies by various Haredi sects must stop.

“I’ve been here for 33 years. It’s not possible that every year there’s another bonfire for another Hasidic leader. I think and I suggest to all authorities… to cancel these bonfires,” Haim Ben-Shimon says.

“All of these bonfire lightings are to make money, and I know it. It’s not out of piety. Anyone who wants to light a candle can light a candle at home and have a festive meal at home,” he says.

Manager of Meron’s synagogue Haim Ben-Shimon, May 2, 2021 (video screenshot)

“The original bonfire lighting here, for generations, was only the Hasidic leader of Boyan [dynasty]. But the other Hasidic leaders who suddenly decided to make lightings, I know personally these [events] are bought for hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He appears to be referring to proceeds from the events.

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