Counting the Omer and Transformation

| guest blog, musings |

When thinking about the messages I wanted to share on the financial picture of the JMC, I was constantly drawn back to how well this conversation fits with the Jewish calendar. We are in the counting of the Omer, the liminal space between Passover and Shavuot. Our tradition for this time was an agrarian ritual – a 49-day countdown from the 2nd day of Passover until the first barley crop was harvested. In today’s world, the traditions and teaching associated with counting the Omer are often focused on the theme of transformation. This includes both personal transformation through introspection, and yes, meditating, but also communal transformation and a focus on tikkun (rebalancing or repair) of the community which surrounds us. I think both of these approaches to understanding the Omer have resonance here for us at this moment. In particular I want to talk about three themes: preparing for harvest, counting every day, and transformation.

Harvest: You have heard the story of how the JMC came into being. I have been lucky to be involved from the very beginning. I remember when Alison was meditating in her apartment with her co-founder and shared with me their idea to build the grassroots Brooklyn-based community they were so desperately seeking. And I remember when they gathered a small group of us as a “board” in their living room on a fall day in 2009 to put our heads together on how this idea could become a reality. The seeds that were planted then are being harvested now. The idea became reality! You are the community they envisioned! The harvest of this seed gives us the opportunity to be thankful for the community we have created together. The JMC community sustains me as it sustains many of you, whether this is your primary connection to Jewish life or a complement to your Jewish spiritual practices. The next step is to make our “harvest” sustainable so we can all reap the rewards we get from this community going forward.

Every day counts: As we move through the Omer, another important message is that every day counts. We spend this time accounting, counting, and preparing for revelation on Shavuot. And that is so true of the JMC in this moment. I’ve told you that we are accounting for our financial picture and counting what we need to sustain the JMC Brooklyn. The board and Alison has been taking stock and reflecting on what we need to do to ensure stability not just for this fiscal year ending in June but beyond. Our immediate goal is to raise $5,000 by June 30 2012 to meet our budgetary needs. Every day from now until then counts and we need to make the most of it to reach our goal.

Transformation: To that point, the Omer is a fertile period for transformation, both personal and community. It has been said that “Passover is the time of liberation, and only on Shavuot are we given the tools to reach the destination.” As we share with you our vision for what sustainability could look like, take a moment to look at your relationship with the JMC. What can you do to help the community transform and build capacity to ensure sustainability? What are you going to do differently to take a stake in the future of the JMC? I’m not talking only about dollars and cents (although if you’d like to give a donation now, click here!) I’m also talking about your ideas, your input, how you plan to step up, and how you think about your commitments to the community.   We are on a journey to find the tools we need. Your ideas, your participation, and your contributions in this transformational moment are necessary in order to make it to our destination – a financially sustainable Brooklyn community.

The harvest is now. Today counts. I encourage you to use the remaining days of the Omer as a time to reflect on your role in this communal transformation and how you personally will strengthen the JMC community.