Yom Ha...Never mind
Oh, that's right! It's Lag B'Omer!
I knew this quite well last night, when the skies of Jerusalem were filled with smoke and the aroma of lighter fluid, and even remembered during mincha, but forget when I went out to run an errand this afternoon.
What reminded me? The mall full of merchants selling things, small children running about, and a cooking activity for children that involved cutting up mushrooms and two portable ovens standing at the ready. Now, it is true that I ran my errand after 5 pm, when both parents and children might be out and about on a normal day.
However, the level of activity in the mall indicated that it was a school vacation day. On school vacation days, including Sukkot, Chanukah, election day, and Purim, I have noticed that the mall is the destination of choice. They advertise fun, free activities for children and some of the usual Friday merchants are selling their wares--everything from handmade baby bunting to home brewed olives and Tupperware. (On Friday, there are also a number of take-out stands, but none today.)
The mall is a nice destination here in Jerusalem because it is out of the hot sun and once you go through the security area once at the entrance to the mall, you don't need to open all of your bags each time you go into a store, the way you would at a normal store outdoors. It has a bookstore, a drugstore, an electronics store, an appliance store, several clothing stores, several shoe stores (5? a lot), a grocery store, a toy store, a lingerie store, a stand that sells Judaica, at least two cell-phone stands, a pizza place, a Burger King (kosher), a meat grill, a sandwich store, an ice cream stand, and two coffee shops. What more could a family need on Lag B'Omer?
There is just something nice about a place where a packed mall reminds one that it is the 33rd day of the omer. Although, I suppose that people go to malls in the US (and elsewhere) when kids don't have school. I just happen to never have lived in a very mall-focused city or town.
My main memory of Lag B'Omer from childhood is of years of horrible, dreaded Color War. Color War is terrible for uncoordinated, socially-inept kids who tend towards sunburn and dehydration. It's like the worst of everything possible.
I hope to post on all of the "Yom Ha"s that we had recently soon.