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18th Century Omer Counter

18th Century Omer Counter

Members of the congregation celebrate Pesah at synagogue services throughout the eight days of the festival, as well as by conducting Pesah Haggadot (seders) in their homes. In some years, we occassionally host a community Haggadah (seder) in our synagogue. 


Following services on the Shabbat of Pesah, teen girls of the Congregation chant the Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs). In appreciation of their hours of preparation and their beautiful rendition of Shir HaShirim, the congregation sponsors a Kiddush luncheon in their honor.


On the morning of the seventh day, Shearith Israel marks the Consecration Anniversary of our First Mill Street Synagogue of 1730. A special blessing is recited in honor of those congregations which had contributed to the building of our first synagogue: the Sephardic congregations of London, Curacao, and Surinam. A blessing is chanted on behalf of these congregations, as well as the congregation in Amsterdam, on the eve of Yom Kippur.


Beginning the second night, the “Omer” is counted. The “Omer” is counted each night for a period of seven weeks, concluding with the Shavuot festival. Shearith Israel’s “Omer Board” dates back to the Mill Street Synagogue of 1730, and may indeed go back to the early years of the Congregation’s history. The Board includes the headings H (for Homer i.e. Omer; or Hoy, today); S (for Semana, week); and D (for Dia, day).

The 'Pineapple' Rimonim

These bells adorned a Torah scroll at the consecration ceremony of the First Mill Street Synagogue in 1730.

Nineteenth Street Synagogue

The congregation's fourth synagogue was built on nineteenth Street, just west of Fifth Avenue.