Omer on the Anacostia

The Omer, or “Sefira,” is an odd period in the Jewish calendar, starting on the second night of Passover and ending with the festival of Shavuot. It is a time of wilderness and journey, having experienced the beginnings of Liberation but not yet having received Revelation at Sinai. In some Jewish traditions, the Omer is a period of semi-mourning, recognizing losses associated with the Exodus and in Jewish history. In addition, this period is considered a time to pray for captives. All this makes the Omer well suited for

• examining issues that perpetuate bondage;

• mourning the effects of liberation delayed and denied;

• exploring ways in which our liberations are intertwined; and

• learning, individually and collectively, and preparing ourselves for action.

Rereading Exodus Along the Anacostia invites readers to take this Omer journey with a special focus on what the Exodus narrative teaches about intergroup dialogue, its role in understanding and addressing oppression, and vice versa. A companion publication, Recounting Exodus, distilled the material into 49 daily pieces, along with traditional intentions and blessings for the ritual count and interpretive versions for the journey “along the Anacostia” for 5782 (2022). The contents are available as daily and weekly pages, Recounting 5782

Spring 5782 message : “Hill Havurah’s Rabbi Hannah Spiro thought this a perfect resource for the Hill Havurah community — and all interested — to look at the Omer in a new way. So, we are offering a daily email reminder, sharing a one-page reading and the daily blessings and count. In this way, those who choose to join can count together. We will also be arranging opportunities for those on this particular Omer-journey to share thoughts as the journey progresses.” Anyone interested in further conversation, please contact Rabbi Hannah through Hill Havurah or the author directly at songeveryday @ gmail.

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