We are in the midst of our longest Jewish counting period, the counting of the Omer between Passover and Shavuot, from freedom to responsibility.

It seems to be part of human nature to count.

We are always counting.

Is there a parent who doesn’t count the fingers and toes of a newborn baby ? Or the steps up or down with a toddler in tow?

We count days until birthdays and vacations.

We are always counting.

We especially count time.

We count the minutes to candlelighting and then the minutes until Shabbat is over.

We count the days until a brit and the years until a child becomes a b’nai mitzvah.

We count the days of Sukkot and Pesach.

We count the days of shiva and the months of mourning.

We are always counting

timeWe count the years of college.

We count our wealth and we count the years of a life lived well.

And on occasion, we even play with time to make it suit our needs as this picture of last week’s Shabbat dinnner shows when the children FINALLY found the afikoman hidden at Passover.

Perhaps a sign of being human is our awareness of the passing of time ; we have little control over it. We can only record its passage.

Here are some books to help contemplate time.

Jewish Woman’s Prayerbook

Timechart History of Jewish Civilization

Beer, The Pure Element of Time

Benjamin, Shuli and Me from Slavery to Freedom: a storybook Omer calendar (JUV)

Cardin, The Tapestry of Jewish Time: a spiritual guide to holidays and life cycle events.

Carlebach, Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe

Cox, Common Prayer: faith, family and a Christian’s journey through the Jewish year

Fishbane, The Sabbath Soul: mystical reflections on the transformative power of holy time.

Fox, A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up : a rereading of Ecclesiastes

Ganz, Follow the Moon through the Jewish Year (JUV)

Keret, The Seven Good Years : a memoir

Klagsbrun, Jewish Days : a book of Jewish life and culture around the world

Milgram, Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice : holy days and Shabbat

Rubinger, Israel through my Lens : sixty years as a photojournalist

Sarna, A Time to Every Purpose : letters to a young Jew

Shulevitz, The Sabbath World : glimpses of a different order of time

Sper, The Kids’ Fun Book of Jewish Time (JUV)

Spiro, A Time to Mourn : Judaism and the psychology of bereavement

Wouk, Sailor and Fiddler : reflections of a 100-year-old author

Ziff, Mirrors in Time:a psycho-spiritual journey through the Jewish year


Image(s):  Clocks by Dustin Moore used with permission via Creative Commons License


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
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