It took too many centuries to rebuild our national life. Centuries that saw the persecution and killing of our people by the Crusaders, the Inquisition, the pogroms of Europe and the Arab world, and finally, the Shoah - the Holocaust. However, that hope, the light of Rabbi Akiva's teachings, persisted in the hearts of the People of Israel and allowed us to reconstruct our history, creating a present and a strong future for the Jewish People through the establishment of the State of Israel – when we overcame our defenseless condition.
When we see Jerusalem rebuilt, its glorious presence reflected in hundreds and thousands of bonfires recalling Bar Kochba's spirit of struggle for liberation that we celebrate on Lag B'Omer, we evoke the hopeful omens of Rabbi Akiva, and it moves to be alive in an era in which Jerusalem is "full of joy, of boys and girls jumping and singing in the streets." What a great privilege it is to witness our National Reconstruction!
May the light of our Lag BaOmer bonfires that reflect
the light of the Jewish hope for national freedom
which Rabbi Akiva taught us to see, also illuminate
our glorious present of independence and freedom
of our even more promising future.
Lag BaOmer Sameach!
RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Deputy Director-General & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union
 The first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah" and the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism.
His real name was Shimon bar Kosiva.
 Following the battle of Betar, Bar Kochvah's last stronghold of resistance against the Romans, and the place where he fell dead, there were a few small skirmishes in the Judean Desert Caves, but the war was essentially over and Judean independence was irretrievably lost. The Romans plowed Jerusalem with a yoke of oxen. Jews were sold into slavery and many were transported to Egypt. Judean settlements were not rebuilt. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina and the Jews were forbidden to live there. They were permitted to enter only on the 9th of Av to mourn their losses in the revolt. Hadrian changed the country’s name from Judea to Syria Palestina.
"Very few Jews in fact survived. Fifty of their most important outposts and 985 better known villages were razed to the ground. 580,000 were killed in the various engagements or battles. As for the numbers who perished from starvation, disease or fire, that was impossible to establish" - Cassius Dio, Roman history 69.13.2-3 [Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman historian, III c.e.]
The Romans resorted to terrible atrocities to win the war. Bodies were left unburied for several years. There are three reports that children were wrapped in Torah scrolls and burned alive (Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 57a-58b; Lamentations Rabbah 2.2 §4; Seder Elijah Rabbah 151).
Pagan sanctuaries were erected right over places of Jewish worship: the temple to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Jewish Temple, Hadrian's equestrian statue being placed in the Holy of Holies, and before the southern gate of Aelia, the Romans erected a marble statue of a pig. Even worse, the Jews were not even allowed toseetheir ancestral home town. Rabbi Akiva violated this edict, and after some time in prison, the old man was tortured to death; at least nine other rabbis were executed, too –Asarah Harugei Malchut, the 10 martyrs whom we remember in the Yom Kippur prayer.
 He lived between 50 y el 135 c.e.
This is the Mount which faces the whole City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (Moriah). Today Mount Scopus is the home of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Bamidbar (Numbers) I, 51.
 Yirmiahu (Jeremiah) XXVI, 18.
 Zechariah VIII, 5.
 Tractate Maccot 24a, Babilonian Talmud.