At least 45 people were killed in Meron, Israel on Thursday night during Lag BaOmer festivities. It’s the worst mass-casualty civilian disaster in Israel’s history and among the dead are Israelis, Americans, Canadians, a Briton, and an Argentinian. Nearly 150 people were injured, many critically. Meron is a tiny mountain town located in the woods of northern Israel. Buried there are several famous sages including Hillel, Shammai and Shimon bar Yochai who is thought to have written the Zohar.

In previous years, hundreds of thousands of people have visited the town over the holiday of Lag BaOmer for the anniversary of the death (or yahrzeit) of Rabbi bar Yochai. Thursday night was the first time since 2019 that Meron was opened for worshipers and more than 100,000 had gathered there.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families. May their memories be for a blessing.