On Monday, a reenactment of a special Temple service was held in Jerusalem on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade. To a casual observer, it resembled a country fair. Families gathered for a pleasant afternoon, children gawked at displays of goats and produce, while the main event, a bake-off, featured two very unusual looking loaves of bread. It became clear this was not your normal gathering of farmers when bearded men in flowing white robes began to blow on long silver trumpets.
This full-dress reenactment of the Omer offering was an essential part of preparing for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, bringing it closer in the most practical ways.
On the first night after Passover, Jews begin counting the Omer, marking off seven complete weeks and culminating in the holiday of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks), which this year took place on June 12. Most people associate the holiday with celebrating the day on which Jewish tradition holds God gave the Torah to Israel at Mount Sinai, but the festival looked very different in the days of the Temple.
The Bible commands Jews to bring two loaves of bread on Shavuot to the Temple. Made from the choicest wheat, which was ground and sifted twelve times before being baked, it was brought as a thanksgiving “wave offering” along with two lambs, as a central aspect of the national holiday.