Tonight, after sundown, we count the following day of the Omer:

Today is 18 days, which is 2 weeks and 4 days of the Omer

How to: the blessings and procedure for counting the Omer.

From Our Community:

I paint – not especially well, but enough to be an outlet, to help me process. In January, when I was finding it particularly hard to sleep, I started working on small illustrations of the names of women and girls murdered on 10/7 and killed in the bombings in Gaza in the months since.

Looking up translations, working on these little memorials, I kept thinking: What florid, gorgeous names we give our daughters. How poetic we all become when we name a baby girl in honor of G-d’s creation: Evening sky. Damask rose. Desert plant.

And specifically (at least in my amateur effort at researching name origins) how similar, the meanings of these Arabic names and Hebrew. Of course they are: The words describe the same natural beauty of the same land. I think about how generations of parents Israeli and Palestinian, Jews and Muslims, have felt G-d’s presence looking at the same water, the same palms, the same light, and blessed their daughters in its image.

It reminds me that our respective claims and attachment to this same land, arguably the cause of the violence that ended these beautiful lives, is also the wellspring of our connection to each other. Honestly, I don’t know how we get from where we are now to a future of coexistence on that land – war is so insidious in how it makes hope seem naive. But memorializing these evocative names reminded me of experiencing G-d’s presence in Israel, and it reminds me, too, to be hopeful. To nurture a vision where my son (who radiates light like his own Hebrew name) experiences it, too, watching the sunrise break over Masada and the glitter path undulating on the Dead Sea, in a version of the future where, out of all this loss and retribution, grows a peace worthy of the beauty of the land.

We’re still accepting submission to this year’s Omer Learning project. Share your own story of hope or feeling G-d’s presence here. We look forward to sharing your insights with community!