Lag Ba-Omer marks the end of a plague that killed thousands of Jewish scholars in ancient times, as well as the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who had rebelled against Roman rule and is believed to be the author of the Zohar, the core text of Kabbalah mysticism. Holiday traditions include lighting bonfires and cutting the hair of three-year-old boys for the first time.

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Rabbi David Gross lights a bonfire for Lag Ba-Omer in Ashdod. Lag Ba-Omer marks the end of a plague that killed thousands of Jewish scholars in ancient times, as well as the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who had rebelled against Roman rule and is believed to be the author of the Zohar, the core text of Kabbalah mysticism. Holiday traditions include lighting bonfires and cutting the hair of three-year-old boys for the first time. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men look at a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Ashdod. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children look at a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Ashdod. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy walks near a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Ashdod. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jews stand around a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jews stand around a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys, girls and women look at a bonfire on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry their sons as they dance around a bonfire on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jews stand around a bonfire lit on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men cast shadows as they look at a bonfire on Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim celebrate Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Rabbi Taitelbaum stands near a bonfire during the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Boys watch a bonfire burn during the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

A young boy watches a bonfire burn as Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim crowd together as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hasidim celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim crowd together as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim dance together as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

A young boy watches a bonfire burn as Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim dance and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

Orthodox Jews of the Satmar Hassidim celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer in the village of Kiryas Joel, New York. MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Celebrate Lag BaOmer

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man carries his three-year-old son as he dances around a bonfire lit on the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba-Omer in Jerusalem. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

May 10, 2012