KI Omer Counter chosen for museum display
[by Sarah Farmer, Special to Community]
Keneseth Israel Congregation has loaned its unique Omer counter for inclusion in the upcoming exhibit Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH).
The Counting of the Omer is the marking of time between Passover and Shavuot, the time from the Exodus from Egypt until Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai. The counting is done for 49 nights, starting the second night of Passover and ending the day before Shavuot.
To help track these seven weeks, Omer counters have been created in countless forms over the years. Some are simple paper calendars; others resemble an abacus with seven rows of seven sliding beads. Today, there are also plenty of smartphone apps to help one track the Omer.
Keneseth Israel’s Omer counter, conceptualized by congregant Dave Miller and finalized and built by congregant Shaun Ross, incorporates the congregation’s Louisville heritage.
The counter is comprised of three Louisville Slugger baseball bats cradling a baseball mitt. Numbered baseball-patterned paper plates are placed in the mitt to track the Counting of the Omer. There’s an additional card for each day that shows which Jewish major leaguers wore the corresponding jersey number during their careers.
This exhibition, which tells the story of Jewish immigration and integration in American society through America’s pastime, will run March-October 2014 at the museum located in Philadelphia’s historic district, a block from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.