BLUE ASH, Ohio (FOX19) - On a Jewish holiday that commemorates a pandemic 2,000 years in the past, members of Greater Cincinnati’s Jewish community decided to thank frontline workers battling one in the present.
Dozens of vehicles took part in a parade on Tuesday night. The route took them through Blue Ash, Montgomery and Amberley Village.
Many of those who participated are with the Chabad Jewish Center in Blue Ash. They drove past police departments, hospitals and fire stations to thank those who have been working on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Who more to thank today than our hospital workers, our doctors, first responders, medical workers," Rabbi Yisroel Mangel with the Chabad Jewish Center said.
“They’re shouting out of the windows, from the doors saying ‘Thank you!’ And we’re saying ‘Thank you’ to them, and they’re saying 'Thank you’ to us. I think it’s so wonderful for each to realize and appreciate each other, but of course we know, our thanks go to them.”
Those involved in the parade also celebrated a Jewish holiday.
“Today [Tuesday] is a wonderful Jewish celebration called Lag B’Omer. Lag B’Omer actually, on this day, just short of 2,000 years ago, there was a pandemic that killed 24,000 Jewish people, and on this day, Lag B’Omer, that’s when the pandemic ceased, when the pandemic stopped," Mangel said.
Normally, the rabbi says, they would celebrate the holiday with a picnic or a carnival, but this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they decided on a drive-by parade.
“It’s a day of prayer that today we’re back in that very same situation. In short, turning to God and say, ‘Hey, just as you did it for them back then, may today be a day of healing for everybody as it was back then,'" Mangel said.
Their message was one of unity and togetherness.
“It’s been seven or eight weeks now that we’ve been quarantined to our homes," the rabbi said. "It may be getting the best of some of us, but our tradition teaches us, and today teaches us, let’s look forward to greater days.”
The parade made stops at eight places.
Mangel says he hopes they inspired people to reach out to their loved ones so they can stay in touch and stay connected through this tough time.