MEMBERS of the Jewish community have celebrated a traditional outdoor pastime by hosting a barbecue.

Chabad Lubavitch of Bournemouth held a community-wide celebration, which was open to the public, to mark the observance of the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, traditionally commemorated by large outdoor celebrations and bonfires which have spiritual significance.

The Lag BaOmer event promised fun for all the family which a large barbecue, music, food and drinks, face-painting and entertainment from Alfie the illusionist.

Lag BaOmer, celebrates the anniversary of the passing of the sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar - the foundational work of the Kabbalah.

It also commemorates another event. In the weeks between Passover and Shavuot, it is said a plague took the lives of many disciples of the sage Rabbi Akiva. On Lag BaOmer the dying stopped.

Rabbi Bentzion Alperowitz said: "The theme and message of Lag BaOmer and the sages whose lives we celebrate on this day is one of respect, friendship and unity.

"Chabad Lubavitch, the largest Jewish outreach organisation in the world, hosted thousands of similar Lag BaOmer celebrations in cities across the globe. The celebrations all share a common theme: Jewish Unity.

"This year’s celebrations bring added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel - a once-every-seven-years opportunity to celebrate Jewish unity and learning. Throughout the year, Jewish synagogues and organisations are hosting communal gatherings for men, women and children dedicated to encouraging Jewish observance.

"Historically, the holiday of Lag BaOmer was celebrated by going out to the fields for introspection and celebration. In 1953, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M Schneerson, of righteous memory, considered the most influential rabbi in modern history - initiated the Lag BaOmer parade as a display of Jewish pride and unity. Since then, hundreds of thousands take part in parades and outdoor celebrations each year."