Counting the Omer- Feeding the Land, not the Landfill

This year, please join the Green Team, Member Connection committee and your Temple community in counting the 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot. As we count, we will learn how we can connect to our Jewish traditions and care for the Earth by the simple act of composting. We will also learn a little bit about why Jews count the Omer (what is an Omer anyway?) and how this all fits with our Lag b’Omer celebration.

We began counting at the end of the 2nd night seder. Come back to this page at the end of the day each day until Shavuot to count with us virtually.

Links to each day’s Omer counting

Click on the link for the current date in the calendar below to go to that day’s page and count the day, say the Omer blessing and learn a little bit about composting from the members of the Green Team.

Be sure to mark your calendar and join your Temple community as our Member Connection committee resumes in-person holiday celebrations with a Lag b’Omer Picnic on May 19 at 6:30.

Saturday evening
(through Sunday)
Sunday evening
(through Monday)
Monday evening
(through Tuesday
Tuesday evening
(through Wednesday)
Wednesday evening
(through Thursday)
Thursday evening
(through Friday)
Friday evening
(through Saturday)
April 16
Omer 1
16 Nisan
2nd night 
April 17
Omer 2
17 Nisan
April 18 
Omer 3
18 Nisan
April 19 
Omer 4
19 Nisan
April 20 
Omer 5
20 Nisan
April 21 
Omer 6
21 Nisan
April 22 
Omer 7
22 Nisan
April 23 
Omer 8
23 Nisan
April 24 
Omer 9
24 Nisan
April 25 
Omer 10
25 Nisan
April 26 
Omer 11
26 Nisan
April 27 
Omer 12
27 Nisan
April 28 
Omer 13
28 Nisan
April 29 
Omer 14
29 Nisan
April 30 
Omer 15
30 Nisan
May 1 
Omer 16
1 Iyyer
May 2 
Omer 17
May 3 
Omer 18
3 Iyyer
May 4 
Omer 19
4 Iyyer
May 5 
Omer 20
5 Iyyer
May 6 
Omer 21
6 Iyyer
May 7 
Omer 22
7 Iyyer
May 8 
Omer 23
8 Iyyer
May 9 
Omer 24
9 Iyyer
May 10 
Omer 25
10 Iyyer
May 11 
Omer 26
11 Iyyer
May 12 
Omer 27
12 Iyyer
May 13 
Omer 28
13 Iyyer
May 14 
Omer 29
14 Iyyer
May 15 
Omer 30
15 Iyyer
May 16 
Omer 31
16 Iyyer
May 17 
Omer 32
17 Iyyer
May 18 
Omer 33
18 Iyyer
Lag b’Omer
May 19 
Omer 34
19 Iyyer
May 20
Omer 35
20 Iyyer
May 21
Omer 36
21 Iyyer
May 22
Omer 37
22 Iyyer
May 23
Omer 38
23 Iyyer
May 24
Omer 39
24 Iyyer
May 25
Omer 40
25 Iyyer
May 26
Omer 41
26 Iyyer
May 27
Omer 42
27 Iyyer
May 28
Omer 43
27 Iyyer
May 29
Omer 44
27 Iyyer
May 30
Omer 45
1 Sivan
May 31
Omer 46
2 Sivan
June 1
Omer 47
3 Sivan
June 2
Omer 48
4 Sivan
June 3
Omer 49
5 Sivan

Weekly Themes

Hyperlinks are videos, documents and websites of interest.

Week 1 – Composting as an Expression of Our Jewish Values

  • Jews value preservation and repair of the natural world (tikkun olam), and composting enables us to better achieve this goal. 
  • Video: Seeking God in Composting
  • Humans take a lot of nutrients out of soils to feed their families, so composting is one way humans can give something back.
  • Home composting is a great opportunity to teach your children about recycling and about the natural cycle of life. It’s fun.  By composting, we can teach children to respect and value their environment.           
  • When you compost, it feels like  you are feeding the earth. You are doing your part to help the planet.
  • Composting is a way to practice the Jewish value of Tza-ar ba-a-lei cha-yim (kindness to animals). 
  • Noah was a composte
  • Bim Bam Video: Counting the Omer: The Basics of the Jewish Ritual

Week 2 – Composting 101

Week 3 – Composting with TBI’s Green Team

Weeks 4 & 6 – The Science of Composting

  • The kitchen scraps in your compost pile are digested by millions of tiny bacteria and fungi that already are already present in your backyard
  • Composting helps our environment by reducing the volume of garbage, landfill, and methane gas.
  • The decomposers that live in a compost pile—worms, insects, bacteria, and other microbes—are nature’s recyclers. They break down dead plants and animals, turning them into nutrients that can be added to soil.
  • In a forest, decomposers break down leaves and branches that fall to the ground. In a compost pile, decomposers break down food and garden waste.
  • Decomposers in a compost pile need air, water, and food (just like you!) Regularly turning a compost pile ensures that decomposers get the air they need. Rain provides water. You provide food by adding food scraps and garden waste.
  • Composting helps reduce climate change! When food scraps go to a landfill, they decompose without oxygen and release methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • According to the EPA, food is the single largest category of materials placed in municipal landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of human-generate methane emissions in the United States. 
  • In the United States, 30-40 percent of the food supply ends up as food waste. By not wasting food, you save money and reduce harm to our air, land, and water. And when you recycle food scraps in a compost pile, you turn waste into something useful.
  • Compost can reach 75 degrees in just a few days. That’s not necessarily a good thing though – heaps which are too hot can produce ash instead of soil, and can destroy beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, there’s very little agreement on what is the ideal temperature for compost
  • Compost heaps can spontaneously combust – don’t put your compost pile too close to the house! Compost heaps can catch fire if they get too hot! Fortunately, it’s rare, and usually only happens to very large, dry compost heaps. Still, if you have a hot summer, it’s definitely worth checking your compost heap, and damping it down or turning it if it’s too hot. 
  • The worms in your compost heap can eliminate e-coli (and other diseases) Composting is an amazing process that destroys pathogens in both the hot and cold parts of the composting process. Worms play their part. Not only can they eat their own body weight in a day, producing highly beneficial worm castings in the process, they can also eliminate harmful bacteria such as e-coli.
  • Compostable products become humus, not hummus! Note the difference between humus and hummus! While the latter is a delicious dip originating from the Middle East, the former is a humus is a dark organic matter that comes from dead plants, essentially. Humus is filled with nutrients, especially nitrogen, which makes it beneficial for the soils’ health. 
  • Composting doesn’t smell rotten! And while composting is technically rotten organic matter, it is not quite. If there are too many greens (like vegetable shavings, green leaves, etc) in comparison to browns (tree branches, dry leaves, some kinds of paper, etc) then there will be an imbalance in moisture and the composting bin might start to smell. Otherwise, it does not.
  • Composting does not release harmful gas. The primary gas released from decomposing organic matter is methane. However, in composting, the main gas released is carbon dioxide. And while carbon emissions are extremely harmful for the atmosphere and planet, the carbon dioxide that comes from composting is not considered to have an effect on global warming, because when it is produced like this, the carbon dioxide integrates the so-called short-term carbon cycle – which is basically a carbon recycling that happens naturally on Earth and from which we benefit.

Week 6 – Composting our Way Through the Holidays

  • We celebrated Lag b’Omer on May 19. Lag means “33”, b’ means “of”. Lag b’Omer means 33rd day of Counting the Omer. We used compostable plates and cutlery and put that and our food waste into the temple’s new compost bin as we said the Shehechyanu together.
  • Eat apples and honey and put your apple peels into the compost for a sweet and sustainable new year.
  • Let your Halloween pumpkin decompose into a scary mess in your compost bin.
  • At chanukah, feed your family with latkes and feed your compost with potato peels and onion skins.
  • Join us at the temple for a Lag b’Omer picnic. We will put our food waste into the temple’s new compost bin and say the Shehechyanu together.
  • Chop apples for  your charoset and pop the apple cores into your compost! Sweetens your matzah and your soil. After Passover, grow the horseradish root from your Seder plate and next year put the horseradish leaves into the compost.
  • Throw those Mother’s Day flowers in the compost when they are done to show how much you love Mother Earth

Week 7 – Composting in Kalamazoo and Beyond

  • The Bike Farm is a bicycle-powered micro farm in the City of Kalamazoo, offering compost pick-up and drop-off.
  • At Bell’s Brewery, Since 2017, all disposable service items including plates, utensils and straws at their Eccentric Café are compostable, with the exception of plastic cups which are recycled.
  • Bee Joyful Shop at 243 S. Kalamazoo Mall accepts compost. All you have to do is bring it in. They only accept fruit and vegetable scraps right now.
  • Organicycle offers Curbside Composting for Home and Business in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.
  • Some cities like Ottawa, Canada have a “green bin” for food waste that gets picked up weekly, separately from your trash and recycling.
  • Consider buying compostable cutlery and dishes for your life cycle events, simchas and parties. Take care when purchasing to make sure the items you purchase are compostable in the home compost bin. Some are only compostable commercially.
  • As we reach the end of our Omer counting, we would like to encourage you to consider natural burial as a very personal way to feed the land. Perhaps this is the most meaningful composting you could ever do. Contact or see the Cemetery report from the Annual Meeting below for more information.