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Counting the Omer, Week 5

05/06/2020 04:31:04 PM


Beth Schafer & The Spirituality Committee

Week 5, Days 29-35: May 6-12
Theme: Hope and Family

“Like the seaweed that clings to each other after each passing boat separates them, so too a family will come together with the passing of each crisis.” ~ Indonesian Proverb

On whom do we lean during difficult times? We can all imagine the people in our inner circle, the ones we call, “family.” Whether it is the family that is related to you, or the family you create among dear friends, it is this precious circle to whom we turn when times are tough. The family is a source of strength and fortitude and our soft place to land when we we feel ourselves falling. Most importantly our families provides us with one of the greatest gifts there is; the gift of hope. The love and laughter we share with family gives us hope that better times are ahead. Even the tears we share with family gives us hope that our pain can actually make us stronger, that our mourning can turn to dancing.

Each day that we can reach out to someone in our family is a day that the flame of hope will be renewed.

Looking for ways to bring your family together whether under one roof or via technology? Try cooking and baking together. Here are two recipes that will yield delicious results!

Recipe #1 Challah

Use your favorite recipe for challah dough and fill it with yummy chocolate filling. We recommend this one modified from because we know you’re going to want more than one loaf!

(Makes 2 Loaves)



7–8 cups bread flour, divided use
2 packages rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
2 sticks pareve margarine, butter, or 1/2 cup oil and 1 stick margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 large eggs

2 cups semi-sweet chips
1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon espresso powder

Egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Directions: ​​​​​​​

  1. In a large mixer bowl combine 6 cups of the flour and the yeast. Stir to combine.
  2. Heat the water, margarine, sugar, and salt in a saucepan until very warm (140°F). Water should be uncomfortably hot to your finger but not hot enough to burn you. (It will feel like hot tap water.)
  3. Add the warm liquid mixture to the flour while the mixer is on low. As the liquid is being incorporated, add the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Gradually add the remaining flour only until a fairly firm dough is formed. This process should take about 7 minutes whether you are using the dough hook on your mixer or are kneading it by hand. The mixture will be satiny smooth.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400°F for 1 minute and turn off. Lightly grease a bowl with some oil, and turn the dough in the bowl to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the turned off oven until doubled in size, about 30–45 minutes.
  6. While the dough is rising, mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. In a lightly floured surface, punch down the risen dough and divide in six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 15 inches long.
  8. Make a trough down the length of each rope. Spoon or pipe the filling into the indentation, and then pinch the sides together so the dough surrounds the filling completely. Braid three of the filled ropes; repeat with the remaining three. Tuck the ends under the braids.
  9. Place the formed breads on parchment-lined or greased cookie sheets, and let rise in the previously warmed oven until light and doubled, about 25 minutes.
  10. Remove loaves from oven and set to 375°F. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash and bake for 25–35 minutes, depending on the size of the loaves. When the bread is done, it will be golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped.

Recipe #2 Traditional for Shavuot-CHEESECAKE!


Easy Make: Purchase a ready-made graham cracker pie crust

2 cups (2 large packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make the filling by mixing together the room-temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, again mixing until smooth. To avoid beating too much air into the batter, use a mixer set at low-medium speed. To avoid lumps, make sure the cream cheese is softened, and/or at room temperature.
  2. Set the pie pan onto a baking sheet, if desired; this makes it easier to transport in and out of the oven, and also protects the bottom of the crust from any potential scorching. Pour the filling into the crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes, then add a crust shield; or shield the crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes (for a total of about 30 minutes). A digital thermometer inserted into the crust 1" from the edge should read between 165°F and 170°F; the filling won't look entirely set in the center.
  4. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate it, covered, until you're ready to serve it.
  5. Serve cheesecake in wedges, with fresh fruit if desired. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several days; freeze for longer storage.

The Blessing: One stands when counting the omer, and begins by reciting the following blessing:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.

After the blessing, one recites the appropriate day of the count and after 6 days, the week is also included in the count. For example: “Today is the twenty-ninth day, or four weeks and one day of the omer.”

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781