The central Lag B’Omer bonfire in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia proved to be the highlight of residents’ Monday night this week, as more than 600 people turned out for a drum circle and live music from the Baal Shem Tov Band and the Kabbalah Dream Orchestra.

Organized by the Jewish Center of Northern Liberties, the local Chabad-Lubavitch center, the third-annual gathering took place on a lot in the funky neighborhood that is undergoing a rapid transformation into a premier address for young professionals.

“It was really inspirational to have this group of people just having fun being Jewish together,” said Rabbi Gedaliah Lowenstein. (Photos: Alex DiFiori)

More than 600 people came to the Lag B’Omer bonfire in Northern Liberties, one of the oldest of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and a one-time industrial center now being transformed into an address of choice for young professionals.

The fare included roasted marshmallows and grilled hot dogs, while the music was provided by the Baal Shem Tov Band. The Kabbalah Dream Orchestra played at an after party indoors.

Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, co-director of the Lubavitch House of Philadelphia, is the Baal Shem Tov Band’s lead guitarist.

The annual bonfire is one of the Jewish center’s most popular activities.

Lag B’Omer marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, they mystic sage credited with authoring the foundational Kabbalistic text of the Zohar. Before his passing, he instructed his students to celebrate the day as heralding the dissemination of the Torah’s esoteric teachings.

The Northern Liberties party lasted well into the night.