Countdown to Summer and Camp Shai’s new Specialty Camp
With Pesach behind us, the Jewish people are in the midst of a tradition called “Counting the Omer.” An omer is a measurement of grain such as wheat or barley. During the time of the Temple, Jews literally counted each day between Passover and Shavuot, 49 days total, as they harvested an omer of grain offerings. This acted as both a spiritual and practical tradition since grains are ripe after 50 days of growth and tending. On Shavuot, the grain finally gets harvested for the purpose of making bread because it was known to be ready to eat!
Since the destruction of the Temple, we now observe this practice by counting down the days until Shavuot. This practice encourages us to open ourselves up by focusing on personal and spiritual growth, just as the grain goes through its own growth process. It is also a helpful motivator to see the days on the calendar fly by and approach an exciting event, such as a bar mitzvah, a wedding, a vacation, or holidays like Shavuot. Not only does Shavuot mark the moment when the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai, it also indicates a seasonal shift into summer.
At Ekar Farm, Denver’s Jewish community farm, the summer indicates warmer temperatures, the first crops ripe for the picking, and an influx of school children that come to Camp Ekar—a week-long day camp on our urban, organic farm that is offered four times throughout the summer. This year’s dates are:
- June 25–June 30
- July 10–14
- July 24–28
- August 7–11
Just as the tradition of “Counting the Omer” stems from our Jewish agricultural roots, Camp Ekar provides opportunities for youth to explore other traditions that can bring us closer to our food, the land, and our ancestors. Each day of camp focuses on a different Jewish-environmental value such as tikkun olam, bal tashchit, shomrei adamah, or shmirat haguf. With each daily theme, we facilitate hands-on gardening, cooking, science, and art projects that campers get to collaborate on together while connecting to the earth and their Jewish identities. Camp Ekar is a fun, unique way for kids to spend their summer outside on a beautiful urban farm in the heart of the Denver Jewish community!
Margot Sands, Ekar Farm’s Lead Educator
Visit Ekar Farm this Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14!