An old tradition with a new twist. The Omer is the period in the Jewish calendar between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot. It counts 49 days – seven weeks between the second night of Passover and the night before Shavuot begins.
It is 4 inches wide, and 3/4 in thick, held together with tightly fitting precision parts. made of laser-cut hardboard, the burn marks give it a faint smell of smoke and spices and the look of an antique heirloom.
About the Moorish design on the back:
My reading of the history of Jewish Art has been significantly influenced by a book on Medieval Judaic Illuminated Manuscripts I read many years ago. What was most notable was how Judaic Art mirrored the local artistic traditions, taking on the tropes of Northern European Art on the one case, and Moorish designs in the other. Jews have always looked to the traditions and cultures in which they have dwelled. As an artist, a Jewish artist, I feel I have a birthright to all of the artistic cultures in which Judaism has found a home.
Particularly in this historical moment, when tensions run high between Jews and Muslims, using a Moorish design is a reminder of the positive history that Jews have shared with Muslims in other times, in other places.
In telling the story of Passover in every generation, we are taught to remember both liberation and bondage, so that in our good times, we do not think ourselves immune to turns of fate, and in bad times, we remember that good times will come again (Though, as the Israelites wandered for forty years, we know it will take hard work and patience).
So, in using a Moorish pattern as we count through the days of the Omer, I hope that our generation is also ticking off the days until we escape this moment of Mitzrayim, this “narrow place” with our Muslim brothers and sisters, that we may once again build great cultures together.
–Thank you to Sapphira, for prompting this reflection–