When I’m not Blogging: Karaite Projects Coming Down the Pike

Not enough time in the day to bring Karaites Back to the Future. (Source: www.independent.co.uk.)

Not enough time in the day to bring Karaites Back to the Future.
(Source: www.independent.co.uk.)

I feel like I owe A Blue Thread’s readers an explanation. The number of views for A Blue Thread continues to exceed my expectations, even though I am not posting as regularly as I used to – let alone, as often as I would like.

I just received an email from someone encouraged me to “keep blogging.” So, let me tell you what I’m working on when I’m not blogging. And I promise to blog more regularly, when things slow down.

First, some background: having Eli Shemuel, a shaliach from the Israeli Karaite community, here last year was among the most inspiring personal Karaite experiences I’ve had in many, many years; and having Tomer Mangoubi, the author of Mikdash Me’at, walk me through traditional Karaite biblical interpretation has been among the most educational Karaite experiences I’ve had in my life.

Working with these two has set me on a slightly new trajectory for what I want to accomplish in the Karaite world. Today, I’m happy to share the public projects I’m working on.

Karaite Omer Counter: Just this week, I contracted with someone to develop an app that helps users count the omer in the traditional Karaite manner. The app will function like an alarm clock – with users being able to enter the time at which they would like to be reminded to count.

The coolest part of the app is that it provides the Hebrew, transliteration, and translation of the daily count and it comes with MP3 recordings of the count for all 50 days. So, if you choose, you can wake up to the counting of the omer every day. [1.] As far as I’m aware, (b’ezrat Hashem) this will be the first Karaite-specific app ever made and the first omer counter of any kind that contains the recordings for all 50 days.

Quite revolutionary stuff.

Karaite Educational Classes: The greatest (Karaite) honor I have on a weekly basis is to study the traditional Karaite prayers and theology with two young Karaites. I have this honor because Eli Shemuel inspired them to start studying. I’ve also tried holding Skype classes with other people interested in learning; but I have yet to get into a consistent routine there. I’m working on it – so to those who have expressed interest and have had a few different starts and stops with your classes, please bear with me.

Publication of Mikdash Me’at: The single most successful driver of traffic to the Karaite Jews of America’s web-site is Mikdash Me’at. The project has been wildly successful, and its author (Tomer) has devoted countless hours to doing something that previously has never been done: explaining Karaite halakha in a comprehensive and cohesive way to English-speaking audiences. And Tomer has even taken the opportunity (wherever he is so inclined) to add his own glosses on the issues at hand.

Mikdash Me’at is available for free at the KJA’s web-site. And there are ongoing discussions about having the work professionally proof-read and type-set for a book. I pray that this comes to fruition, because we desperately need more Karaite books available online. [2.]

My Own New Book: In addition to all this, I have started writing a new book. It has taken the back seat to all the foregoing projects (and others), but I hope to start to be able to share it online over the next year. As a hint to what the book is about, if you have some questions you’ve always wanted answered about Karaite Judaism, send me a note at shawn@abluethread.com, and I’ll work to incorporate it into the project.

None of this excuses me from blogging more regularly; but I wanted everyone to know that I have not lost interest in Karaite projects – in fact, it is just the opposite. I am more passionate than ever. And I am committed to building a sustainable Karaite Jewish movement.

*  *  *

1. The app is programmed not to play on Shabbatot or moadim.

2. I note that A Blue Thread is not affiliated with the Karaite Jews of America.


Filed under Eli Shmuel, Mikdash Me'at, Shavuot

12 Responses to When I’m not Blogging: Karaite Projects Coming Down the Pike

  1. Keep it up, buddy! We can bring Karaite Judaism into the digital age.

  2. Zvi

    ¡Olé! You are doing wonders for Qaraite Judaism (:

  3. Amani

    Since I got a new phone, I will look forward to the Omer app.

  4. Laurie

    Wow! Sounds like lots of good things coming – praise G-D! Do you know if anyone is working on getting the online conversion course started back up?

  5. Matityahu


  6. Edna

    I enjoy your postings and I am grateful whenever you do them. Just bought AS IT IS WRITTEN.

  7. amalia geller

    Are any Karite siddurs available to purchase online, ( Hebrew-English translation)?

  8. Dave

    Great news, Shawn, on keeping Karaite projects alive in the digital age . I would be interested in the conversion course, but it may never happen I guess, for me, but I remain interested

  9. Jim

    Shawn should keep blogging. I am excitedly trying to get my hands on the recommended reading from Karaite sites. It is good that this community exists; scattered as it may be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *