Shavuot: I’m #upforthecount

Up for the Count's Trendy Logo.

Up for the Count’s Trendy Logo.

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.

And now the best part. You can visit the site now for a sneak peek at the program: Up For The Count.

Here’s how the program works. The first day of the counting of the omer is Sunday, April 20, 2014. Sometime before that, the KJA will upload recordings of people counting the omer according to the traditional Karaite formulation using (in most cases) the traditional Egyptian Karaite melody. During each day of the counting of the omer, you can go and listen to the count. Or you can learn how to say (or sing) the count on your own.

The KJA has done remarkable work to get recordings from different and unique voices: women, children, old men, Israelis, Americans, and professional singers.

For example, on the Up For The Count site you can currently hear Rotem Cohen count the first day of the omer. Rotem made headlines in Israel by refusing to participate live on A Star is Born (Israel’s equivalent of American Idol) on the biblical Shavuot (i.e., the last day of the omer).

The KJA has also received commitment from Gal Tamir to record several days of the omer. Gal recently formally affiliated with the Karaite Jewish movement and has quite the impressive resume. He represented Israel in the Universong Contest in Tenerife, Spain (2006). And he actually won first place (for a duet) at the Festival de la Canción Latinoamericana of California (2006).

And to prove that you do not have to have a great voice to participate, I just might throw my hat into the ring. The KJA is still hoping that some of the other “famous” Karaites running around will lend their voices to the project.

Now if only someone could create an app that sets the counting of the omer as my alarm clock each morning . . .

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The logo was designed by Jason Sutherland.



Filed under Counting of the Omer, Karaite Jews of America, Shavuot

2 Responses to Shavuot: I’m #upforthecount

  1. Eric L. Friedland


    In the Qaraite tradition does a ברכה precede the Counting of the ‘Omer? Is
    the wording essentially the same as the Rabbanite one? More importantly,
    does the Qaraite community see Shavu’ot purely as an agricultural festival, or
    does it commemorate too, as for the Rabbanites, the Giving of the Torah?

    With the imminent arrival of Passover, חג כשר ושמח!

    • All excellent questions. Here is the “entire” count for Day 5 if you want to hear it for yourself.
      (I’m not familiar enough with the Rabbanite wording to address similarities. Perhaps you can let me know after listening?)

      As to Shavuot, Karaites are mixed on this. The majority of the classical Karaites (as far as I’m aware) did not believe that Shavuot was the date of the giving of the Torah. I actually have a call today at 2pm pacific to discuss this exact issue with the author of Mikdash Me’at.

      The next section is on Shavuot.

      I hope this helps.

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