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Omer Resources

ON THIS PAGE: The Basics, Omer Counters and Apps, Other Omer Resources

Click here to read the Omer Message from the Clergy from Sun. April 19.

Click here to donate to our Lag BaOmer fundraiser to benefit our members impacted by COVID-19.


The Basics

What is the Omer?

The seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot is known as “the omer” period. An omer (“sheaf”) was an ancient measure of grain, and refers to the barley offering brought to the Temple on the second day of Passover. Starting on that day, the Torah instructs: “you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week – 50 days” (Leviticus 23:15-16). The festival of Shavuot is observed on the 50th day.

The counting of the Omer (S’firat HaOmer), which lasts for 49 days, takes place at night, commencing on the second night of Pesach. Those who "count the Omer" recite a blessing each night of the 50-day period. The count is stated in both total days (“Today is the twenty-third day of the Omer,”) and weeks and days (“which is three weeks and two days of the Omer.”)

What is Lag BaOmer?

Lag BaOmer is a minor, festive holiday that falls on the 33rd day of the seven-week period between Passover and Shavuot, a period of time is known as the Omer. (The numerical value of the Hebrew letter lamed is 30, and the value of gimel is three; lamed and gimel together are pronounced “lahg.”) This holiday gives us a break from the semi-mourning restrictions (no parties or events with music, no weddings, no haircuts) that are customarily in place for some Jewish communities during the Omer.

Lag BaOmer commemorates a variety of historical events, including the end of a plague that killed many students of Rabbi Akiva (c. 50-135 C.E.), the yahrzeit of 2nd-century mystical scholar Shimon bar Yochai, and a Jewish military victory over Roman forces in 66 C.E. In remembrance of these events, some people celebrate with picnics and bonfires. Many couples in Israel choose to get married on Lag BaOmer, and many people also choose to wait until that day to get a haircut or beard trim.

(From ReformJudaism.com "Counting of the Omer" and "Lag BaOmer")


Omer Counters

Say the blessing before Counting the Omer each evening with the Cantor! click here for the blessing video

Digital & Printable

Cantor Beck-Berman created this easy-to-use chart to count each day of the Omer: click here to download.

• ReformJudaism.org has a simple webpage which displays the current count at the top of the page content: click here

• For Simpsons fans, the Homer Calendar: click here

• If you want something a bit more colorful and non-linear, Rabbi Rachel  Barenblatt created this spiral counter: click here

Mobile Apps

• Rabbi Scott Nagel uses the Omer: A Counting app (click here for Apple or here for Android)

• Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman uses the app from NeoHasid.org (click here for links to Apple or Android versions)


Other Omer Resources

Check out our curated "Omer Counting Resources" playlist on our YouTube Channel: click here

Lag  BaOmer traditions and recipes: click here (including: 9 Ways to Celebrate Lag BaOmer in the Time of Coronavirus and Recipes for your Lag BaOmer Celebration)

Jewish Mysticism and the Omer: Many who count the Omer associate each week (and even each day of the week) with a Sephirah, a Divine quality from Kabbalah (Jewish mystical tradition). Click here for more info on Kabbalah from ReformJudaism.org.

For a brief explanation of how these seven qualities can be used thematically each week to work on self-improvement, see this blog post by Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan.

The ancient Jewish mystical prayer Ana B'choach is associated with counting the Omer, as well as Kabbalat Shabbat. In our YouTube Omer Playlist, we have included a number of musical versions of this prayer. For more about how this prayer is used during the Omer, click here, and here

For a weekly art prompt in the form of a mandala to color, see Juliet Spitzer's website where she draws and shares a new mandala each week corresponding to the weekly Sephirah (Divine quality). You can submit your colored mandalas to her website if you wish, and she will post them in her gallery.

​​​​​​​Cantor's Week 1 Mandala            

(Click each image above to view mandalas for all seven weeks, colored by the Cantor.)

Click here for our Shavuot playlist with videos related to Shavuot, including teachings, songs, recipes, and even an Israeli folk dance named after an old Shavuot poem! For more Shavuot playlists and other curated resources, visit our YouTube Channel!

Fri, October 23 2020 5 Cheshvan 5781