A Progressive Jewish Congregation in Portland, Oregon
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KAVANAH (Mindfulness)

Shir Tikvah’s 5776 Learning Theme is Kavanah – Mindfulness. This year we seek to deepen our awareness of the place of Jewish ethics in our lives, and the way in which our Jewish identity guides and supports our actions in the world.


Sefirat HaOmer / Counting the Omer
An Invitation to Mindfulness and Personal Growth
From Tivona Reith and Shir Tikvah

Starting the night of Saturday, April 23!


49 gates. 49 prisms.
49 days of spiritual harvest.
49 steps from liberation to revelation.

The mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer / Counting the Omer has become for me one of the most meaningful spiritual practices of my life. It is a conscious act for 49 nights to bless and count, and for 49 days to look with focused awareness on myself, my place in the world, my ethical and spiritual relationships.

Some years, I journal what reveals itself each day. Some years, I collage. Some years I experiment with gematria or poetry. Some years a “spirit buddy” and I meet weekly to process what is unfolding in our hearts and consciousness. But in all years, I am mindful of a practice with ancient agricultural and Kabbalistic roots that helps me blossom and grow in new ways.

This is an invitation to join me this year in this practice. To give it a try if you have never done it before. To experiment with new ways, if you have.

Sefirat HaOmer begins the 2nd night of Passover (liberation) and takes us right to Shavuot (revelation). This year, counting starts the night of Saturday, April 23 (right after seder!).

We count our “days” starting at night, because the Jewish day begins the night before.

This Friday—and each Friday for the subsequent 6 weeks—a link from Rabbi Ariel’s d’var Torah will take you to the following materials I have prepared:

  • Background on this ancient practice, with a variety of book and on-line resources.
  • The Kabbalistic theme for each week and each day of that week, with an omer calendar for the week, and specific guidance on the sequence of blessings and readings (in both Hebrew and English).

Much of this information will be adapted (with permission) from my favorite book: Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide, by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz. In addition, if you have your own copy of Siddur Shir Tikvah, see pp. 48-53 for the blessings and daily guidance.

Make your life count!!

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