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Marking Time: Omer Calendars by Community Artists
Exhibit: March 1 - July 26, 2009
Artists' Reception: Sunday, March 8, 2 - 4 P.M.
Barbara Mortkowitz, Curator
Omer counters, or calendars, have been part of the tradition of hiddur mitzvah, or beautification of the commandment, for centuries. Modern examples demonstrate how a wide variety of contemporary materials and techniques can be used to create pieces which reflect both ancient and new ideas about time and spiritual values.
The Omer is the measure of grain which the Children of Israel were commanded to bring to the Temple from the second day of Passover until Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, a period lasting 49 days. The counting of these days is an important part of the commandment. Over time, tradition began to link this period with the transition from slavery to freedom, and it was considered a time of preparation for the receiving of the Torah as celebrated on Shavuot. Contemporary artists have incorporated all these ideas into their own personal expressions of the significance of counting the Omer.