Saturday night marks the start of Lag b’Omer, the Jewish holiday that falls on the 33rd day after Passover, during the 50-day stretch before Shavuot known as the Omer. Notably, it’s the only day during the Omer—a mourning period symbolizing the break between the Exodus from Egypt and the receipt of the Torah at Mt. Sinai—that some of the traditional restrictions, like not getting married or not cutting your hair, are lifted. Many observant Jews seize the day for bonfires (with s’mores), hiking, and, of course, haircuts. Some 3-year-old boys even get their first haircut on Lag b’Omer.
As Allison Hoffman reported last year, some congregations and communities are taking the tradition of Lag b’Omer haircuts to the next level, working with organizations like Locks of Love to donate hair to make wigs for in-need children with medical hair loss. At one congregation in Potomac, MD, last year, stylists offered free haircuts to those with enough hair to make a wig. The congregation’s rabbi put it best: “It makes Lag b’Omer, which is an easily forgotten holiday, into something relevant and poignant.”
The Melvin Berman Hebrew Academy is hosting its tenth annual Lag b’Omer hair drive—last year they got 44 donations. More information about this weekend’s event can be found on their website. Zichron Menachem, a Jerusalem-based organization that provides custom wigs for children with cancer, has donation information available online. You can find donation guidelines for Locks of Love here.
Know of another Lag b’Omer hair drive? Let us know in the comments.
Related: Holiday Haircuts Give Hope
Lily Wilf is an editorial intern at Tablet.