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Shavuot at Adas Israel

Sun May 16 - Tues, May 18
Register for Erev Shavuot |  Register for Shavuot Day Services
(Or Livestream Here - media player coming 5/16) 

Ready yourself for an evening of powerhouse Torah, Connection, and Ascension under the stars at Adas Israel, or over the airwaves from wherever you are. Gather together in the Adas parking lot for an unscripted conversation with our Clergy and Sarah Hurwitz, and stirring evening of prayer, song, learning, and late-lounging. Chag Sameach, and see you at the mountain. 


Erev Shavuot, Sunday, May 16

Torah Keynote with Clergy and Sarah Hurwitz,
View livestreamed conversation together in the parking lot (big screens!), 
or online here, media player will appear 5/16:

Join an unscripted conversation with our clergy and Sarah Hurwitz, renowned political speechwriter and author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life--in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There).


Live in our Parking Lot + Livestreamed

A Spirited Shavuot Maariv with the Adas Clergy and Community. 


Torah Slam with Adas Clergy
Live all over Adas + Livestreamed

Our rabbis come to you, wherever you are in the building, or online, for some powerhouse Shavuot Torah. 


Niggunim, Kavanot, and Late-Lounging
Live in our Parking Lot

Lounge late night with our clergy and band, for song, Torah, and good company. Or continue to learn online with Nechama Liss-Levinson. 


Shavuot Morning Services, May 17 and 18

Shavuot Day 1 Service led by the Traditional Egalitarian Minyan
Charles E. Smith Sanctuary + Livestreamed

Register to Join In Person. 


Shavuot Day 2 Service with Yizkor, led by the Adas Clergy
Charles E. Smith Sanctuary + Livestreamed

Register to Join In Person. 


Sefirat HaOmer

Beginning on the second night of Passover we begin to count 49 days, 7 weeks until we reach the wheat harvest and Revelation at Mount Sinai on Shavuot. We call this time the Sefirat HaOmer or “Counting of the Omer.” The Omer is counted each night after the sun goes down- if one forgets, you can say the blessing all day until nightfall the next evening.


Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with 
His commandments, and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.

A Reflection on Sefirat HaOmer by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt:

There is a different space of the journey of everyday, of marking time not through major accomplishments or milestones, but through the sun rising and setting of marking the passage of time, of hammering at something slowly, patiently over a contemplative period of time.  This is the Omer. 

We begin counting the Omer on the second night of Passover and we count every night until we get to 49 and arrive at the holiday of Shavuot- matan Torah (the giving of the Torah).  In ancient times the counting was a marking of the agricultural calendar- one would plant their wheat at Pesach and harvest it 7 weeks later.  Shavuot is one of the shelosh regalim, one of the 3 times of year people would make pilgrimage to the Temple (the others being Sukkot and Passover). On Shavuot first fruits were brought to the Temple as a way of giving thanks for the abundance that God had provided. 

We have become disconnected with the counting of the Omer because we are urban- we do not rely on the small plantings we make in our city gardens to eat, we do not watch an entire harvest spring from the ground and we do not have a Temple where we can offer our first fruits.

So the ritual of counting the Omer needs a reset.  A way of connection in the modern world to link the time between our liberation (Passover) to  our revelation and receiving of Torah (Shavuot).  The most remarkable days are those of the quiet rhythm of our lives.  Waking up without the rush- the steady movement forward- gentle and calm.  The time to dig our hands into our relationships, our work- the planting.  The time for reflection, noticing, and being- awaiting the harvest.  And finally the joy of our first fruits- which we can only gather after we have had the discipline of sowing, planting, and waiting.  Something will always emerge out of the ground. 

There is a reason we don’t recite shehecheyanueach night of the counting of the Omer. Rabbi Levi Yitzhak, the Kedushat Levi writes, “during the counting of the Omer, people are in anticipation of when the counting will be completed. They want the completion to arrive soon so they can experience closeness to the divine. Were they to have the capacity to complete the counting in an instant and be immediately able to enter into the closeness, how good and how pleasant it would be. This is why we do not recite shehecheyanu upon counting the Omer.”

The shehecheyanu would imply that we have arrived to a particular moment.  But this time is about the steady, continuous journey, not the arrival.  We’ll know when we have arrived and we’ll be ready then to offer our first fruits.  This year we will again mark the Omer at Adas with a display in the Quebec street entrance where we will add a jar and a wheat stalk every day.  With each jar we get closer.  Let’s use this time to linger, to notice, to plant, and to allow the Torah of our deepest selves to emerge.  I look forward to seeing you at Sinai. 

Sat, May 8 2021 26 Iyyar 5781