One Seven Times Seven Reality (Beyond 9)

“What the deaths of Garner, Brown and Scott do have in common are individuals who didn’t want to go to jail and cops who wanted to take them there,” wrote Peter Moskos, in yesterday’s Washington Post.

“[They] didn’t want to go to jail.”

This may seem too obvious to mention.

And Moskos’ suggestion that our country “stop criminalizing so many people” as “one logical way to reduce potentially deadly arrest situations” may also seem obvious.

Before moving on to solutions, however, it’s important to stick with our exploration of oppression. Let’s pause to consider just a few of the basic realities of imprisonment in this country.
As we continue our 7 X 7 (seven week) journey in the omer, let’s just make sure that we absorb these realities:

  • Black children are seven times more likely than their peers to have an incarcerated parent.
  • Children with incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to end up in prison themselves.
  • Here is a a link to four pertinent reports with much more on this topic.

Blu Greenberg’s comment quoted yesterday, about this week’s Torah portion suggests that we might try — for one evening at least — not to analyze or prescribe but instead simply mourn for the suffering across generations that this represents.

We counted 9 on the evening of April 12. Tonight, we count….

Making the Omer Count

from On the Road to Knowing: A Journey Away from Oppression
A key element in the journey from liberation to revelation is understanding the workings of oppression, and our part in them. We cannot work effectively to end what we do not comprehend.

So this year, moving from Passover to Shavuot, I commit to learning more about how oppression works and how liberation is accomplished. I invite others to join me:

Let’s work together, as we count the Omer, to make this Omer count.

Thoughts and sources welcome.


Share this graphic to encourage others to participate.

A Meditation

Aware that we are on a journey toward knowing God — from liberation to revelation — I undertake to know more today than I did yesterday about the workings of oppression.

I bless and count [full Hebrew blessings in feminine and masculine address]:

Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.

Today is ten days which are one week and three days in the Omer.
Hayom ‘asarah yamim shehaym shavuah echad ushloshah yamim la-omer.

In the spirit of the Exodus, I pray for the release of all whose bodies and spirits remain captive, and pledge my own hands to help effect that liberation.

Peter Moskos

“Think Walter Scott’s death is ‘another Ferguson’? Cops don’t … ” in Washington Post Outlook, April 12, 2015, p.B3.

Moskos is author of Cop in the Hood, Princeton University Press, 2009. He is a former Baltimore police officer and now serves as assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Learn more from his website and blog.


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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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