When I was a kid, I received my formal Jewish education at Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, CA. There, I met a guy named Aaron Moskowitz, who was one year older than me. He was always a nice guy. But poof, just like that he was gone. It turns out he moved away and I never actually interacted with him again until we connected on facebook, through a group for alumni of Alpha Epsilon Pi (the Jewish fraternity).
I asked the group whether anyone could help me create new, modern music for Karaite songs. I was even open to something like what Jimi Hendrix did to (and for) the National Anthem. Aaron was one of many people who said he could help. He said the project contained his two favorite things: Rock & Roll and Judaism.
Image Credit: David Wilensky, J: the Jewish News of Northern California
Yes. I know it’s Wednesday. But what is time anymore? Today, I Monday-morning-quarterback my performance during my Judaism Unbound podcast interview. This is super meta for a Karaite. It’s like my gemara on the mishna that was the podcast.
Before I get started – HUGE shout out to Judaism Unbound for surpassing a million downloads recently!
“Ariella chanted the Torah portion using Egyptian te’amim (trope) – a combination of Karaite and Rabbanite – because she likes the sound of it.” Lex Rofeberg of Judaism Unbound sent me this in a facebook message with a link to the recordings. My reaction, and I quote, was, “Holy Smokes”. Is that phrase sacrilegious? Who knows.
Farid al-Atrash sings Gamil Gamal
A few years ago, when David Ovadia and Maryellen Himmel-Ovadia threw the grand-reopening events for the Karaite Jews of America’s synagogue and the launching of the Karaite Jewish Cultural Center in Daly City, California, they brought in an oud player to add some joy to the festivities. I was skeptical. I thought there was no this would resonate with American born Karaites. It was, at best, a tip of the cap to the Egyptian roots of the community. Or so I thought.
I want my two dollars!
What has two thumbs and got deceived by Firkovich? This guy! Okay. To be honest, I can’t fully or even partially blame R. Abraham ben Shemuel Firkovich, the greatest collector of manuscripts in Karaite Jewish history, for the set of events that cost me $150. But he sure is a convenient target.
On Tuesday, on Election Day in the United States, I officially released The Chief Cornerstone for sale. Yes. On election day. And I did it very intentionally. You see the words “The Chief Cornerstone”, Rosh Pinna, come from Psalms 118: The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. What does this have to do with election day?
During the past six months I’ve done a few online classes. They are fun, and I look forward to doing more. I finally got around to recording the one on the Karaite liturgy. You can watch that one here. I have a few more to record.
For the Karaite liturgy video, I put up a challenge to raise money for The Karaite Press. Check it out to see whether you’ll be donating $10, $20 or $30. (Of course, feel free to donate nothing. Or more.)