What in the blazes

London synagogue catches heat for lighting indoor Lag B’Omer bonfire

Beis Medrash Beis Shmuel synagogue decides to not let rainy weather get in the way of festivities

The bonfire lit inside Beis Midrash Beis Shmuel synagogue in London, England last week (Screenshot via Jewish News UK used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).
The bonfire lit inside Beis Midrash Beis Shmuel synagogue in London, England last week (Screenshot via Jewish News UK used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).

A synagogue in the North London neighborhood of Golders Green celebrated the Lag B’Omer holiday last week by lighting a bonfire indoors, prompting local firefighting services to issue warnings against the practice.

Due to inclement weather, Lag B’Omer celebrations were relocated indoors to Beis Medrash Beis Shmuel, the primary Haredi synagogue in Golders Green where Rabbi Dovid Halpern ignited the traditional flame.

The local fire and rescue service, responding to this event, cautioned that indoor fires could spread more quickly, posing a threat to both people and property.

Additionally, the service highlighted that indoor bonfires amplify the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, a hazard undetectable by sight, smell, or taste.

Alongside these warnings, the service offered guidelines for safely kindling an outdoor bonfire. Recommendations included maintaining constant supervision of the bonfire, avoiding the use of petrol or paraffin, and ensuring the fire is a safe distance from buildings and other combustible structures.

Lag B’Omer commemorates the death anniversary of Shimon Bar Yochai, a prominent disciple of Rabbi Akiva and a key figure in Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah.

The holiday is often celebrated by lighting bonfires.

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