This article was first published in JWeekly.
This year, there is going to be a new, uniquely San Franciscan way to count the Omer.
It turns out that the city is perfectly designed for the Jewish commandment to count the 49 days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. That’s because it just so happens that San Francisco has 49 consecutively numbered avenues (including, for purposes of the project, Arguello and Great Highway) in its Richmond and Sunset districts.
When Yeashore Community’s maggid Jeff Haas and his friend, educator Reuben Politi, noticed this coincidence a couple of months ago, they saw an opportunity to design a project that would literally bring Jews onto the streets to observe the mitzvah of counting the Omer together.
The two men organized the Omer Project, an initiative that is equally about counting the days between the two holidays and getting out the message to Jews, across all denominations and beyond, that their presence counts.
The group has scheduled a festive and educational Omer counting gathering every evening of the 49-day period at a street corner on the numerically corresponding avenue. As much as possible, the gatherings will take place in front of or near a synagogue or other Jewish institution located in the Richmond or Sunset districts.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.