Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, brings a symbolic break in this 49-day journey from Passover to Shavuot. The 32-day plague wrought by disrespect among Rabbi Akiva’s students (see yesterday’s post) has ended. Lag B’Omer is a day of transition. We don’t necessarily cease mourning for who and what was lost, or stop analyzing how things went wrong. But, just as Akiva began anew with five students, it is time to for us to focus on rebuilding.
The plague story warns that a pretense of respect only obscures danger. It urges us to explore our own communities for places where similar hazards lurk, to engage in necessary conversations.
This break in the Omer is an opportunity to examine our journey, how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go.
Now is a great time, too, to check in with others. It is not necessary to follow the same religious calendar in order to join together on a journey from oppression. Counting these days has its own peculiar set of commandments and its own set of benefits. But one need not count the Omer to make these days count.
Race Forward provides an array of materials designed to educate individuals and groups and facilitate conversations around racial justice. This post includes handy links to a number of their resources, including their relatively new series of videos on systemic racism — all intended for a wide-ranging audience.
Showing Up for Racial Justice works, more specifically, “with white people who are already in motion.” SURJ endeavors to avoid “the culture of shame and blame” which can be found in some activist circles, instead seeking “to bring as many white people into taking action for racial justice as possible.”
SURF offers resources, including suggestions for launching house parties and other conversational activities. Special Mothers Day materials speak to teachers, parents, and others working with children.
Many other groups work to unite people in action and/or further necessary conversations. If you have other resources to share, please post in comments or email me (songeveryday at gmail).
It will enhance our individual journeys to know others are with us. So, please consider using the comment section here to let everyone know you’re committing to begin the conversations we need, or just “like” this post (see star at far bottom of post). In addition, please share this post or the “Conversing for Racial Justice” image to help engage others.
We counted 32 on the evening of May 5. 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.
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 thirty-three days which are four weeks and five days in the Omer.
Hayom shloshah ushloshim yom shehaym arba’ah shavuot vechamishah 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.