The Homer Calendar

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About Counting the Omer

Rabbi Krustofski - On the second day of Passover in ancient times, our ancestors brought the first sheaf of barley (amounting to a measure called "an omer") reaped that season as an offering to God. From that day, they began counting the 49 days to Shavuot, when they would celebrate the beginning of the wheat harvest by offering the loaves made of the first wheat. Even after the Temple was destroyed and offerings were no longer brought, they continued to count the days from Passover to Shavuot in accordance with the biblical injunction (Lev. 23:15).

In this way our ancestors linked Passover and Shavuot as occasions for thanking God for the fruits of the field. We, too, thank God for the renewal of life which nature proclaims at this season.

However, as Passover and Shavuot acquired historical significance, their linkage through the counting of the intervening days took on new meaning. Passover celebrates the liberation from Egypt, and Shavuot celebrates the receiving of Torah at Sinai. By counting the omer, we symbolically connect liberation with the idea of Torah.

Counting the omer is an exercise in the discipline of mindfulness. Counting each of the days of the omer reminds us that all of our days are numbered, and it is our responsibility to make each day count.

The Counting Ritual  (D'ohs and Donuts)

Each evening, while standing, one first recites the blessing for the mitzvah of counting, and then declares the number of days and weeks of the omer count. Traditionally, if one forgets to count at night (D'oh!), the count may be made the next day without a blessing. One then resumes the regular count that evening. If, however, one skips an entire day, then orthodox practice is to continue counting until Shavuot, without the blessing (but see this).

Rabbi, I forgot what day of
          the omer it isHow To Use This Site

The Homer Calendar can guide you through the counting of the omer in three ways:
        1) You can click on each of the individual days in the calendar below to go to the blessing and count for that day. However, Jewish "days" start in the evening, so one shouldn't count the omer for a day in the calendar until after sundown on that date.

        2) You can click on each of the weeks in the far left column below to open a two-page document (pdf format) you can print out and post on your refrigerator or whatever (mmmm.... refrigerator). These pages will have the blessing and the count for each day of the omer in that week.

        3) You can view and print out a one-page pdf Homer Calendar with the count for each day of the omer for this year by clicking here.

Check out our extras and links below for more information and activities.

The Homer Calendar 5774 / 2014
Follow us on Twitter: @CountTheHomer
Random Real Simpsons' Quote:
Click here to get a printable Homer Calendar for the entire omer period

Click the links in this column to get the printable weekly calendar  

Sunday evening (through Monday)

Monday evening (through Tuesday)

Tuesday evening (through Wednesday)

Wednesday evening (through Thursday)

Thursday evening (through Friday)

Friday evening (through Shabbat)

Saturday evening (through Sunday)


April 2014
Week of
April 13


April 15 eve.

Omer 1
16 Nisan

2nd Seder

April 16 eve.

Omer 2
17 Nisan

April 17 eve.

Omer 3
18 Nisan

April 18 eve.

Omer 4
19 Nisan

April 19 eve.

Omer 5
20 Nisan

Week of
April 20
April 20 eve.

Omer 6
21 Nisan

7th Day Pesach

April 21 eve.

Omer 7
22 Nisan

8th Day Pesach

April 22 eve.

Omer 8
23 Nisan

April 23 eve.

Omer 9
24 Nisan

April 24 eve.

Omer 10
25 Nisan

April 25 eve.

Omer 11
26 Nisan

April 26 eve.

Omer 12
27 Nisan

Week of
April 27
April 27 eve.

Omer 13
28 Nisan

Yom Ha'shoah

April 28 eve.

Omer 14
29 Nisan

April 29 eve.

Omer 15
30 Nisan

Rosh Hodesh

April 30 eve.

Omer 16
1 Iyyar

Rosh Hodesh




May 2014
Week of
April 27
May 1 eve.

Omer 17
2 Iyyar

May 2 eve.

Omer 18
3 Iyyar

May 3 eve.

Omer 19
4 Iyyar

Week of
May 4
May 4 eve.

Omer 20
5 Iyyar

Yom Hazikaron

May 5 eve.

Omer 21
6 Iyyar

Yom Ha'atzmaut

May 6 eve.

Omer 22
7 Iyyar

May 7 eve.

Omer 23
8 Iyyar

May 8 eve.

Omer 24
9 Iyyar

May 9 eve.

Omer 25
10 Iyyar

May 10 eve.

Omer 26
11 Iyyar

Week of
May 11
May 11 eve.

Omer 27
12 Iyyar

May 12 eve.

Omer 28
13 Iyyar

May 13 eve.

Omer 29
14 Iyyar

May 14 eve.

Omer 30
15 Iyyar

May 15 eve.

Omer 31
16 Iyyar

May 16 eve.

Omer 32
17 Iyyar

May 17 eve.

Omer 33
18 Iyyar

Lag B'Omer

Week of
May 18
May 18 eve.

Omer 34
19 Iyyar

May 19 eve.

Omer 35
20 Iyyar

May 20 eve.

Omer 36
21 Iyyar

May 21 eve.

Omer 37
22 Iyyar

May 22 eve.

Omer 38
23 Iyyar

May 23 eve.

Omer 39
24 Iyyar

May 24 eve.

Omer 40
25 Iyyar

Week of
May 25
May 25 eve.

Omer 41
26 Iyyar

May 26 eve.

Omer 42
27 Iyyar

May 27 eve.

Omer 43
28 Iyyar

Yom Yerushalyim

May 28 eve.

Omer 44
29 Iyyar

May 29 eve.

Omer 45
1 Sivan

Rosh Hodesh

May 30 eve.

Omer 46
2 Sivan

May 31 eve.

Omer 47
3 Sivan


June 2014
Week of
June 1
June 1 eve.

Omer 48
4 Sivan

June 2 eve.

Omer 49
5 Sivan

Shavuot
Extras: 
Jewish
                      Life in Springfield
From Temple Beth Springfield to the Springfielder Shvitz,
the Jews of Springfield have a proud heritage.

 
Click to see the photo essay / slide show, "Jewish Life in Springfield."

Updated for 2014!

(All pictures original, unedited frames from Simpsons episodes)

 
Krusty is guided at his Bar Mitzvah by his father, Rabbi Krustofski Hey Hey Hey!
You can kibbitz, kvetch or kvell in our guestbook.

Click here to sign or view the guestbook.

About this site and links to more about the Simpsons, Jews and the Omer

Thanks to Howard Cooper for the original idea. Now in our 15th year, this site was created by Brian Rosman (email: homercalendar@mail2homer.com), with help from Aviva and Yonah Rosman and Barbara Penzner. When we started, we got a "cease and desist" order from Fox, claiming a copyright violation. Interestingly, the letter was dated on Shavuot, reminding us of the old joke about the judge giving someone 7 days to take down an illegal sukkah. We wrote back, claiming a "fair use," and haven't heard anything since.

In 2005 the New York Jewish Week published a nice article on the site. That led to a bizarre interview on Washington DC's Sunday morning Jewish radio show, "Awake, Alive and Jewish" (click here to listen (mp3). Previously, the Jewish Advocate in Boston did a feature story on the site, and we were reviewed in the Jerusalem Report, Jerusalem Post (twice!), and the old USA Jewish webzine (view some early reviews). We also got the OU (Orthodox Union) hechsher of approval - read the supportive but cautionary review in the OU's Jewish Action magazine. We were "Web Site of the Week" on Jewish.com (before it became a store), and were named a "Top Site" in March 2002 by the Jewish Agency.

All things Jewish and Simpsons

Who Jew? Hipster Jew has a great summary of all the Jewish characters in the show, including some questionable, but totally defensible, honorary Jews.

"Shalom is the aloha of this place" - Marge.   The March 28, 2010, episode, titled, The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed, featured the Simpsons going to Israel (maybe watch the episode here; some other links: Entertainment Weekly preview (From Borat to Bruno to … Bart!); Wikipedia episode summary; Beliefnet review ("Israel has survived a great many things - and last night, the country survived the arrival of the Simpsons"); Heeb's and Ma'ariv's take; and a Jewish content summary from LA's Jewish Journal GeekHeeb blog).

Highlights:

The show featured Sacha Baron Cohen as an Israeli tour guide, and singer Yael Naim as his neice and tour security guard. The Israeli scenes are almost all in Jerusalem, and feature accurate depictions of the Tomb of King David on Mt. Zion, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock. There were lots of obvious sight gags, a long stream of Hebrew invective from Cohen (was this the longest bloc of Hebrew in American prime time ever?), and a fair amount of Simpsons schmaltz.

Welcome
                    to Israel -- Your American Tax Dollars At WorkBart riding
                    skateboard on top of KotelReformers - robots reading Torah

Before the show aired, groups started opining on the deep meaning. The American Family Association, a far-right Christian group, called on Fox to pull the "horrific" episode they hadn't seen: "This animated program has gone from inappropriate, to crude, to now offensive.... Families should not be exposed to this toxic poison." Meanwhile, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, president of Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, waxed incoherently: "These journeys can remind they wake up our angels, such as our need to unify as Homer has, but also our ugliest demons, like suddenly thinking you're the Messiah. It reminds us that Jerusalem is important to lots of people and lots of traditions. If it weren't, the Simpsons couldn't use it as a spot for their journey of self-discovery." Worst was an anti-Israel blogger who attacked the unseen episode for showing Israelis as humans (really: "The Simpsons prepares to jump the shark in an orgy of Jewish self-congratulations (with no reference whatsoever to 'politics'). On the hasbara bandwagon, making monsters look like human beings.").

Rabbi Krustofski, voiced by Jackie Mason, has been popping up more and more recently. In the 2011 Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart (as the alien in an Avatar parody) engages in his first inergalactic sex. Rabbi K floats by in Bart's mind's eye and proclaims, "Today, you are a man. Mazal Tov!" Mason also had brief cameos in 2 other recent episodes, in December 2011, and the series' 500th episode, aired in February 2012.

In January, 2010, Rabbi Krustofski appeared in an episode with an intermarriage theme (Forward commentary). It was the most-watched episode in 5 years. In the show, Krusty is set to marry a non-Jewish princess. His Rabbi/father starts the wedding under a chuppah with real Hebrew blessings (see picture), but is not happy. Bart interferes with the wedding, but they get together in the end anyway, with Krusty declaring, "I'd rather be a happy schnook than a noble shlumpf." The most bizarre image was Mr. Teeny, Krusty's chimpanzee, who was locked in the "Torah Room" by Bart. The monkey is seen rolling out the Torah scrolls with glee (click for picture, and click on picture again and again for two more frames), which kinda offended at least a few frum folks.

Previously, the release in 2007 of The Simpsons Movie prompted the Jewish Outreach Institute to suggest using the film to somehow "encourage participation in Jewish community." They recommend using the Hebrew-dubbed version released in Israel (JPost: Eat my 'tachtonim'?) for an introductory Hebrew course.

The 2006 Treehouse of Horror Halloween episode included a Jewish-themed segment titled You Gotta Know When to Golem, featuring the legendary Golem of Prague, voiced by Richard Lewis, who eventually marries a female monster, voiced by a grating Fran Drescher (synopsis here, and images here). As Krusty described him, the Golem is "the legendary defender of the Jews, like Alan Dershowitz, but with a conscience." Serious Jews began right away dissecting the meaning of the episode, mostly deciding it was Bad. For. The. Jews. The culture critics at Tablet/Nextbook, the popular webzine Jewcy ("Why the Golem Episode of the Simpsons Was So God-Awful: A Close Reading") and the Jewish Outreach Institute objected to the stereotypes and cheap gags. The exception was the multi-religious site Beliefnet, which praises Fox for exposing another generation to the Golem tale. There's no question about that; internet searches for the term "golem" soared following the show. At least it wasn't as bad as the "Rappin' Rabbis (Youtube clip).

Bully Pulpit: The year before we learned that Dolph, the short and quiet bully, is Jewish. After convincing Milhouse that cool kids ride their bikes with their eyes closed (Milhouse gets hit by a train), Dolph whips a tallit and kippah out of his pocket, puts them on (picture), and exclaims, "I'm outta here. I've got Hebrew school." He chants "Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech ha-olam," with decent pronunciation, as he walks away. No Jewish authorities opined on any deeper meaning, however. The next year, in the "Lisa the Drama Queen" episode, Dolph reveals that they went to the Clam-Elot Seafood Restaurant after his "just family" Bar Mitzvah.

In December 2003, Fox broadcast an episode with a mostly Jewish theme, titled "Today, I Am A Clown" (wikipedia entry, and script). Besides seeing Springfield's Jewish quarter, Krusty's Bar Mitzvah (with Mr. T helping: "I pity the shul that won't let Krusty in now"), we learned that Springfield has a Jewish Walk of Fame, that Krusty's full name is Herschel Pinkus Yerucham Krustofski, and that Lisa has a Jewish imaginary friend ("Her name is Rachel Cohen. And she just got into Brandeis."). Read a Jewishy review here. You can hear some soundclips from the episode here and see lots of images here .

The episode, written by Joel Cohen, won the Jewish Image Excellence Award award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and the Los Angeles Entertainment Industry Council. At the awards ceremony, Laraine Newman said that not since "Bam-Bam's bris" on the "Flintstones" had Judaism played such a role in an animated series. Writing in the Jewish Week, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman saw Krusty's Bar Mitzvah as a turning point - "the proverbial tipping point when all of America became Jewish."

My jaw dropped when I saw this. I'm more than a casual watcher of "The Simpsons" (principally because just about every bar mitzvah student is able to quote it chapter and verse), so when I tuned in I was expecting the same old shtick for Krusty's bar mitzvah — an updated version of the excesses of "Goodbye Columbus." It started out that way, but ended up with Krusty headed on a serious Jewish journey.

To assist your serious Jewish journey, Rabbi Noah Gradofksy has created a page he calls "The Simpsons Talmud." It's based on of the Jewish content from the "Like Father, Like Clown" episode (Wiki entry; some sounds; and images), the first Jewish-themed show from 1991. Noah turned it into a Talmud page in Hebrew and Aramaic, with Rashi and Tosafot too. It's all translated and explained, and is truly brilliant. See this article from the NJ Jewish News for more on the episode.

Florida journalist Mark I. Pinsky has updated his The Gospel According to The Simpsons. The book examines the role religion plays in The Simpsons, and includes a detailed discussion of the Simpsons and the Jews. Pinsky identifies what he calls an "underlying element of what might be called 'crypto-Judaism'" permeating the show (click here to read an excerpt from MyJewishLearning.com quoting, well, me). In 2007, Moment magazine published his article, Do You Know This Family?, which sees the Simpsons' Springfield as a modern-day Chelm, and Krusty, despite having worked 5 shows on the Yom Kippur that Sandy Koufax sat out (he also lost $10,000 betting on the Dodgers that day), as embodying the American Jewish experience. Richard Kalman and Josh Belkin see more than echoes of crypto-Judaism in the show; they propose that the Simpsons are Sephardic crypto-Jews themselves. The show "displays a knowledge of the Sephardic tradition that would make Rabbi Moses ben Maimon blush." Read their detailed, engrossing article, Sephardic Tradition and "The Simpsons" Connections. Along the same vein, a shrei-out to Robert Schneider at bangitout.com, who compiled this exploration of the characters' Jewishness: The Simpsons, Jewish?

For years, Jewish teachers are using the Simpsons to sell their Jewish content. For example, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles had a Torah study class that watched 10 Simpsons episodes "as a springboard for deeper discussions on Jewish beliefs and values", and Limmud London included a session, The Wisdom of the Simpsons: Learning Jewish Values from our Favourite Animated Family ("You've heard of Pirkei Avot; now it's time to study Pirkei Simpsons"). We heard this year from the educator at the New North London Synagogue, who using the Calendar with her 5th graders, and also has a Simpsons mock seder, acts out the weekly Torah portion Simpsons style, and has the students discuss how Bart and Lisa would have reacted to Egyption slavery. Or for the more traditional, Rabbi Uri C. Cohen of Princeton has given a talk called "Religion and the Simpsons: HaDat vehaD'oh!" And try listening to this shiur titled "Simpsons in Halakha" by Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman.

Jewish Simpsons producer Mike Reiss ("I'm not gay, but I'm Jewish, which is basically the same. Both gays and Jews have been persecuted for centuries -- by their mothers.") says his Jewish talk is his favorite. He's always on the circuit, recently at the Denver, Greensboro and Tucson Jewish Film Festivals. He's even talked about Simpsons and the Jews in Mumbai, Singapore, Macao and Chile. In 2004, he gave the Irving Blum Memorial Seminar at the Pikesville, MD, Beth Tfiloh Synagogue. This prompted an angry letter to the editor objecting to "promoting 'The Simpsons' vulgar attitudes in shul."

Of course, if you want vulgar, there is the Simpsons-themed "Bart" Mitzvahs ("the clever decor featured bright cartoon colors, a Mo's tavern airbrushed backdrop behind the bar, a Simpson's living room backdrop for photos with lifesized figures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and the baby, and mountains of frosted donuts on the sweet table"). The ultra-fancy Tavern on the Green hosted one; see some pictures), and some more with the centerpieces, cake ("fondant remote controls, frothy mugs, cans of "Duff" root beer, and donuts covered each of the tiers") and fake Moe's Tavern set-up. For the service you can always order a Simpsons kippah (embossed, knit, painted, or weird or weirder), and at kiddush serve a custom Mazel tov blackboard gag cake, or character cookies,.

I fell in love with our favorite mishpacha in Israel, where the show was a big hit for years. Unfortunately, things did not go as well for the show in the Arab world, or in Iran.

The Simpsons Collectible Card set included a nice Rabbi Krustofski card (click to see it). But fans were very disappointed when the Playmates toy company canceled their planned Rabbi Krustofski action figure. Playmates had produced a prototype (with a Torah accessory!) and started promoting the figure, with Jackie Mason providing the voice. But it was shelved, supposedly due to Mason's worry that it would be seen as offensive. Fans were so disappointed that some put together amazing home-made versions.

"About Counting the Omer" adapted from the Reconstructionist prayerbook series, Kol Haneshamah.

Last year, then Huffington Post religion editor Josh Fleet curated an expansive omer liveblog throughout the 7 weeks with a wealth of interesting material. For some more on counting the omer, follow these links:

Comments? Errors? Let us know: homercalendar@mail2homer.com

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