May 13 (begins at sunset) & May 14
An omer refers to an ancient Hebrew measure of grain, amounting to about 3.6 liters. Biblical law forbade any use of the new barley crop until an omer was brought as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Book of Leviticus (23:15-16) also commanded: “And from the day on which you bring the offering … you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete.” This commandment led to the practice of the Sefirat Ha’omer, or the forty-nine days of the “Counting of the Omer”. The omer is counted from the second day of Passover and ends on Shavuot.
May 30 (begins at sunset) & May 31
Shavuot is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks” and refers to the Jewish festival marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Shavuot, like so many other Jewish holidays began as an ancient agricultural festival, marking the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. Shavuot was distinguished in ancient times by bringing crop offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Shavuot, also known as the Festival of the Giving of the Torah, dates from biblical times, and helps to explain the holiday’s name, “Weeks.” The Torah tells us it took precisely forty-nine days for our ancestors to travel from Egypt to the foot of Mount Sinai where they were to receive the Torah. Thus, Leviticus 23:21 commands: “And you shall proclaim that day (the fiftieth day) to be a holy convocation!” The name Shavuot, “Weeks,” then symbolizes the completion of a seven-week journey.