To count the omer
You need a minyan of hands
Seven weeks, plus one
Starting on the second night of Passover we count seven weeks, a period called the omer. The fiftieth day is Shavuot (literally “weeks”) the only holiday in the Torah whose date is not mentioned. Rather it is determined by counting the days from Passover – the 50th day is Shavuot.
There are many resources on-line to help find meaning in the counting of the omer. On Reformjudaism.org, Rabbi Ruth Adar provides five reasons for counting.
Liturgist and poet Alden Solovy has collected 49 of his prayers and meditations for the counting of the omer, arranging them according to the mystical practice of weekly and daily themes.
On rj.org, Rabbi Josh Weinberg suggests that one way to make the days count as we count the days is to vote for ARZA in the World Zionist Congress election – which ends on April 30th, the 27th day of the Omer.
For a more entertaining approach, you can visit The Homer Calendar, where everyone’s favorite yellow cartoon character – Homer Simpson – will help you keep track of the days. The site also provides the appropriate blessing for each day. When you’ve finished counting for the day, explore other resources on the site to learn about some of the hidden (and not so hidden) Jewishness of the Simpsons and Springfield.
Note: As Rabbi Richard N. Levy explains in this week’s Ten Minutes of Torah, because we observe only 7 days of Passover in the Reform Movement our Torah reading this week is different from the rest of the Jewish world. While most congregations will read a special portion for the last (8th) day of the Festival, Reform congregations will read the first half of the portion Shemini. Next week, we’ll read the rest of Shemini and come back into sync with K’lal Yisrael. A haiku for Shemini will be posted here next week.
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