Once Lag B’Omer comes the weddings begin. Two-thirds of the mourning period for Rabbi Akiva’s students is over and many rule the stringencies of remembrance can be relaxed. Forty-six years ago, though, the period after Lag B’Omer was anything but joyous for the Jews in Eretz Yisroel.
At that time I was thirteen-years-old living in Wichita, Kansas and the build-up to the Six Day War barely touched my untroubled life. Summer vacation had begun. The municipal swimming pool had opened. I was going to have a fun summer. One morning I came home from a sleep-over at my friend’s house to find my mother listening to my father’s transistor radio. She was crying and she was angry as she listened to an Arab leader proclaim that Allah would assist them in this Holy War to push the Jews of Israel into the sea. Some of her concern did penetrate my carefree existence but I did not feel threatened. The same could not be said for my contemporaries living across the ocean in Israel then.