Last month’s Passover holiday was a momentous time for our community. Residents, families, and friends gathered for two evenings of joyous Seders at both the Samson Nursing Center and Toby Weinman Residence in the largest numbers we’ve been able to have since the start of the pandemic. New for this year: every table was adorned with a beautiful, hand-painted Elijah’s Cup and Miriam’s Cup designed by artist Yair Emanuel.
We are currently in the time of Sefirat ha-Omer (Counting of the Omer) – the spiritual practice of marking the 49-day period between the second night of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. During this period, the omer is counted every evening after sundown. In ancient times, this period represented the beginning of the barley harvest when Jews would bring a sheaf (omer) of grain to the Temple to thank God for the harvest. As we count up the days, Sefirat ha-Omer links the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery in Egypt to the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
From a Jewish mystical perspective, the Omer presents us with an opportunity for spiritual growth and reflection. Along these lines, I would like to recommend the book Omer: A Counting by Rabbi Karyn Kedar as a meaningful spiritual companion for the practice of Sefirat ha-Omer. The book is structured with a different theme for each of the seven weeks and a specific meditation for each day.
May 25th marks the start of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks), the Jewish holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Residents will have the opportunity to engage in Torah study, song, and services with Yizkor remembrance prayers during the holiday. Family and friends are, as always, welcome to join in this special celebration. Each person’s participation adds to the joy of the holiday
Hag Sameach – wishing everyone a Happy Shavuot!