Omer Project hits the streets of San Francisco

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For the third straight year, people are gathering in San Francisco for the counting of the Omer — on numbered city avenues that correspond with the Omer number of that day.

This year’s Omer Project began over the weekend and will continue on various nights during the 49 days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. San Francisco has 49 avenues, including Arguello Boulevard and the Great Highway as No. 1 and 49, respectively.

So, for example, on the second night of the Omer on April 5, people met on Second Avenue. Upcoming gatherings include April 23 on 20th Avenue (day 20 of the Omer) and May 2 on 29th Avenue (day 29).

In all, 11 meetings had been organized as of early this week, concluding day 49 on May 22 across from the Beach Chalet overlooking the ocean. Most of the gatherings will take place in front of or near a synagogue or other Jewish institution within the Richmond and Sunset districts.

The congregations involved are Beth Israel Judea, Or Shalom Jewish Community, Ner Tamid, Adath Israel, Magain David, B’nai Emunah, Emanu-El and Chabad of Cole Valley. Yeashore Community is also involved, and organizers said the local Karaite Jewish community is involved for the first time.

Counting the Omer is an injunction to count the number of the Omer aloud each day. Its observance — a reminder of the link between Passover, the Exodus from Egypt, and Shavuot, the giving of the Torah — is considered a mitzvah. The Omer Project gatherings include education, usually a bit of singing and what organizers define as a post-denominational dose of spirituality.

The Omer Project has at least eight more gatherings through May 22. Each is free and will occur between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. For the schedule, visit www.omerproject.com or email [email protected].