The Omer Project is all about bringing people together and emphasizing the message that we all count. This year we will count in our homes together at the same time once a week, on the first day of each Omer week (see schedule here). You will receive an email a couple of days before with teachings, artwork, and songs corresponding to the upcoming Omer week (join the Google group here to receive the E-mail). When it comes time to count the Omer, we will use the counting card which you can download and print here.
To get a sense of what we do during normal years, read below:
Join The Omer Project as we gather outside on the streets of the Sunset and Richmond districts in San Francisco to count the Omer. There are 49 numbered streets in those neighborhoods, in perfect correspondence to the 49 days of counting the Omer. (Was G-d on the City Planning Commission, or what?) As if that's not cool enough, the Torah has been symbolically compared to the ocean, and Torah scholars have been compared to the fish in the sea.
We will count our way through the Avenues, each week getting closer to the ocean, until the holiday of Shavuot. We will gather outside, in community and with synagogues in the Sunset and Richmond districts. We will count the Omer at the numbered avenue that corresponds with the particular Omer day, working our way from the smaller to the larger numbers as the weeks progress. View the schedule
After leaving Egypt, the Israelites traveled in the desert for 49 days. On the 50th day, they received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Every year, Jews observe this 50-day period by participating in Sefirat HaOmer—Counting of the Omer. Starting on the second day of Passover (except for Karaite Jews, who start on a slightly different calendar), Jews congregate every evening, for 49 consecutive days, to count the Omer. The 50th day is the holiday of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah.
The 50 days of the Omer also correspond to the 50 Gates of Understanding, which is alluded to in the Talmud. The first 49 gates are opened by humans as they count the 49 days of the Omer. Each one of these gates connotes a character trait that is being understood and improved upon in preparation for receiving the Torah. On the 50th day—Shavuot—G-d opens the 50th gate and reveals the Torah.
Each day, as well as each week, of the Omer is dedicated to developing a spiritual quality based on the seven lower sefirot*:
Chesed corresponds to the first week and to the first day of each week, Gevurah corresponds to the second week and to the second day of each week, and so on. We will explain the details at each gathering. View the schedule
* Sefirot (or sephirot), meaning emanations, are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah through which G-d reveals G-dself and continuously creates in all the realms.
The amazing artwork used by The Omer Project comes, with generous permission, from Rabbi Me'irah of San Francisco. You can purchase her beautiful art at versesilluminated.com, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: All Hebrew pronunciations on this website are Ashkenazi, reflecting the tradition of Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Please note that Jews from the four corners of the Earth pronounce Hebrew in their own unique ways. The Omer Project honors the diversity of our global Jewish heritage.