I usually don’t express my Karaite state of mind publicly, but I am generally worried about the survival of the movement and its philosophy. As you can imagine, we have a massive demographic disadvantage, and despite the fact that the internet is the great equalizer, we are structurally behind our Rabbanite kin in terms of infrastructure and resources. This worry of mine isn’t “new”. I’ve had these same worries since I was in my teens.
Category Archives: Counting of the Omer
What started out as a beautiful Shabbat evening with community and discussion devolved quickly – and mostly privately. First the orthodox rabbi made a mistake. Then I made two. Then the rabbi intended to offend me. He failed, but it was clear that I was not welcome. And I walked out. That might have been a mistake as well.
It’s that time of year that some people love and others have never heard of. That’s right; we’re counting the omer, a period of 50 days from the Sunday that occurs during Passover until the Sunday of Shavuot.
The Karaites and Rabbanites differ as to when to start counting the omer. You can read about that here. A young Israeli Karaite even made headlines when he refused to compete live on A Star is Born (the Israeli franchise of “American Idol”), because it coincided with the biblical/Karaite Shavuot.
But today, we’re just going to look at how Karaites count to 50.
What is the world coming to!? The Karaite Jews of America has launched an initiative using . . . hashtags.
This morning, the KJA announced that it wants to help Karaites (of all varieties) count the omer in accordance with the biblical timing. The KJA’s program is called “Up For The Count” and the organization is asking everyone who participates to use the hashtag #upforthecount.
The program has a cool logo, is ambitious, and most importantly is a practical resource.
For more than 40 years, Sesame Street has helped children around the world learn how to count. And as a child, I watched the famous Sesame Street character Count von Count: “One ha ha ha; Two ha ha ha; Three ha ha ha . . .”
Religious Jews everywhere are currently “Counting the Omer,” which is a fifty-day period leading up to Shavuot. But if Sesame Street were around in antiquity, Karaites and Rabbanites would still disagree about how to count to 50.
It turns out that Sesame Street can teach both Karaites and Rabbanites how to count; but we need to turn to a different source to know when to start counting.