Magazine article The World and I

Fire on the Mountain - A Family Tradition

Magazine article The World and I

Fire on the Mountain - A Family Tradition

Article excerpt

In the early nineteenth century, the wealthy patriarch of the Abo family of Algeria came to Israel. He settled in Zefat, the city of mystics, in northern Israel. Rabbi Abo, who also represented the French government, quickly established himself as a leading religious figure. Not long after his arrival, he purchased the land surrounding the cave of Shimon and Eliezer on nearby Mount Meron. Around their graves he erected monuments and built a synagogue and yeshiva, an academy dedicated to the study of Jewish law.

Although members of the Abo family have long since scattered throughout Israel, they return to the family home each year. They come to take part in a tradition that has been celebrated for six generations. In 1838, the Jews of Zefat presented Rabbi Abo with a Torah scroll in a beautifully engraved silver case. Every year since, on the afternoon before Lag b'Omer, the case is decorated with flowers and colorful scarves and paraded through the Old City. …

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