Sign In Forgot Password

Omer Resources

OMER NAVIGATION: Omer Basics, Omer Madness 2021Omer Counters and Apps, Other Omer Resources

Click here to read the 2020 Omer Message from the Clergy from Sun. April 19, 2020.


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 Madness 2021

Get ready for an Omer like no other! 
In the 16 days from Lag BaOmer until Shavuot (May 1-16)
join us for an Omer Madness Text Study

Click here for more information, and to access ALL texts and voting links!

Omer May Madness Draft Torah Study Bracket:
brackets naming the 16 texts for omer madness study
(click for larger image)


Omer Counters and Apps

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 for Omer 2021

• 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

• For a colorful map of the Omer count as a poster (available for download at Sefaria): click here 

• For a daily meditation on single words from Psalm 67 by Rabbi Irwin Keller, 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

Psalm 67 is also associated with the Omer, because if you leave out the introductory dedication ("For the chief musician, a psalm song with stringed instruments"), there are exactly 49 words in the psalm, one for each day of the Omer. For a daily meditation on single words from Psalm 67 by Rabbi Irwin Keller, click here.

Color the Omer! There are a number of options out there to do a weekly (or even daily) coloring practice during the Omer!

Here is an article about Coloring the Omer on ReformJudaism.org.

For a free weekly art prompt in the form of a mandala to color, see Juliet Spitzer's website. She is drawing new prompts for each week of the Omer during 2021. (You can also download and color her weekly mandala prompts from 2020.) Her weekly mandala prompts correspond to the Sephirah (Divine quality) associated with that week of the Omer. You can download blank mandalas to color yourself, submit yours to her website gallery and view other submitted mandalas there!

Here are some examples of colored-in mandalas from the Cantor in 2020!
Cantor's Week 1 Mandala            
(Click each image above to view mandalas full-size.)

Here are a few things the Cantor found for sale online that might interest you:
• An Omer-themed coloring book to purchase, see: Color the Omer: 49 days of beauty and reflection (at Bayit Publishing)
• A deck of contemplative art cards to purchase themed for each day of the Omer according to the Sephirot (Divine qualities from Kabbalah), see: Omer Practice Deck (or see other Omer items for sale Ritual Well)

Shavuot Resources

SHAVUOT NAVIGATION: Shavuot Basics, Other Shavuot Resources


The Basics

What is Shavuot?

The festival of Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and encourages us to embrace the Torah’s teachings and be inspired by the wisdom Jewish tradition has to offer.

Shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks,” and the holiday occurs seven weeks after Passover. Shavuot, like many other Jewish holidays, began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which Israelites brought crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, it is a celebration of Torah, education, and the choice to participate actively in Jewish life.

What is Tikkun Leil Shavuot?

One of the most distinctive customs of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot is Tikkun Leil Shavuot, an evening-long study session held on the night of Shavuot. Tikkun means a “set order” of something and refers to the order in which the texts are read. The custom originated with the mystics of Safed in the 16th century, and today, many Jews stay up all night on Shavuot reading and studying a variety of sacred texts. Traditionally, readings from the Torah and Talmud are included.

Many synagogues hold a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. Some host programs that go on all night, culminating in morning services at sunrise. Other congregations gather for a few hours of study. Whether one is planning to attend an all-night session, study for a few hours, join with others, or study on one’s own, Shavuot is a wonderful time to encounter sacred text.

For videos of URJ Rabbis exploring different sacred texts for Shavuot, click here. 

(From ReformJudaism.com "Shavuot" and "Tikkun Leil Shavuot Videos and Study Guides")


Other Shavuot Resources

Videos & Music: Click here for our collection of Omer and Shavuot YouTube playlists, including our Omer Counting playlist and several other playlists with videos related to Shavuot, including teachings, songs, recipes, and even an Israeli folk dance named after an old Shavuot poem! 

Family Activities: Celebrate Shavuot with Shalom Sesame, make a Pressed Flowers Platter, or click for more ideas!

Recipes: including Elegant CheesecakeSouth Indian Coconut Rice PuddingLemon Ricotta Pancakes, or click for more!

For even more resources, visit the Shavuot page on ReformJudaism.org!

Sun, July 25 2021 16 Av 5781