Rabbi Jack Abramowitz of ‘Jew in the City’ is Welcome in My Tent

There is a rabbinic tradition that Abraham and Sarah were so welcoming that they would leave their tent open on all four sides in order to welcome strangers. [1.] So it always amuses me when Rabbanite Jews discuss which Jewish thoughts are not welcome in their modern tent.

Just this week, Rabbi Jack Abramowitz wrote a very good and thought provoking piece on who is “in the tent.” And today, I invite him into my tent, even though he won’t welcome me into his.

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Filed under Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Ortho-Curious

The Decline of Central Authority

Three presidentsWhen I was in my early 20s, I was working for Alpha Epsilon Pi, whose aim is to develop leadership for the Jewish community. I was lamenting to a friend how my generation feels a bit distant from our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., and how I would completely change the State of the Union to be more in touch with the people.

I proposed letting Michael Buffer introduce the President, and having a half-time show of sorts before the response from the opposing political party. My friend told me it was a horrible idea because it would further erode any respect we have for our elected officials.

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Filed under Ortho-Curious, State of the Movement

The KJA’s Omer App is a Game Changer

The Karaite Jews of America wants to revolutionize the Karaite experience. This app is just one of its latest projects.

The Karaite Jews of America wants to revolutionize the Karaite experience. This app is just one of its latest projects.

The Karaite Jews of America has brought a two-thousand-year-old debate to the center of the digital world. Over the past few weeks, the KJA has published – for free - its KJA Omer App (for both iPhone and Android), helping Jews count the omer in accordance with the biblical timing and the Karaite tradition. Today, I explain why the KJA’s app is far more important than the omer.

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Filed under Mikdash Me'at, Shavuot, Technology

The Passover Episode (w/ New Video)

These two win Passover this year.

These two win Passover this year.

Sometimes it feels as though Karaites get more press around Passover than the rest of the year combined. For good reason, Karaite Passover customs are distinct from the Rabbinic majority. Today, I provide a new video on Karaite Matzah, discuss some historical notes, and provide links to some online resources.

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Filed under Passover

That time the Karaites Cancelled Purim: My Article at TheTorah.com

Wedan Haman, a Karaite take on "Oznei Haman." Check out my article for more details.

Wedan Haman, a Karaite take on “Oznei Haman.” Check out my article for more details.

About a thousand years ago, the Karaites cancelled Purim. They just skipped it altogether and with the waving of a hand they jumped a month into the future to celebrate Passover. Sounds crazy. But it’s true.  You can read about this and more in my article Comparing Purims, in which I identify some interesting similarities and differences between the Rabbinic and Karaite conceptions of Purim.

Below, you can check out some more Purim shenanigans that I did *not* put into the article.

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Filed under Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Purim

Karaite Fact Card 12: The Shawarma Boycott

Fact Card 12 Shawarma Front

At the encouragement of some friends, I turned some of my most popular posts into fact cards. Here is Karaite Fact Card 12 – regarding the fact that most traditional Shawarma is not kosher according to biblical standards.

Check it out here. I’ll find a way to give away these fact cards to readers in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Filed under Karaite Fact Cards, Kashrut

Karaite Reaches North American Finals at Tanakh Competition

James (Ya'aqov) Walker at the International Tanakh competition

James (Ya’aqov) Walker at the International Tanakh competition in November 2014.

I first started corresponding with James Walker about eight years ago, when I was still in law school and he was interested in converting to Judaism through the Karaite movement.

To be frank, I was inspired by the fact that Karaite Judaism could link a California-descendant of Egyptian Karaites and a black man from the South. And to be even more frank, I was immediately impressed with his knowledge of Hebrew and Scripture – which far surpassed mine.

James’ knowledge of the Tanakh recently earned him a place in the North American finals in the State of Israel’s Tanakh competition, and today I catch up with him about his experience at the finals in New York this past November.

 

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Filed under James Walker, Karaite Jews of America, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Karaites in Israel, Moshe Firrouz