A Hanukkah Gift for Rabbanites (and Karaites)

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

In 1979, Hadassah magazine published a story about the Karaite Jews of Cairo. Among the interesting tidbits in the piece was that the last remaining Karaites in Cairo had never celebrated Hanukkah. [1.]

Since Karaites historically did not celebrate Hanukkah, some might find it odd that I am offering a Hanukkah gift to the Jewish masses. This offer is not too good to be true.

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Filed under Calendar, Eli Shmuel, Hanukkah

Someone Else’s Simcha and the Karaite Wedding

Chief Hakham Moshe Firrouz officiates a wedding featured in Haaretz's Someone Else's Simcha Series (Photo Source: Haaretz)

Chief Hakham Moshe Firrouz officiates a wedding featured in Haaretz’s Someone Else’s Simcha Series
(Photo Source: Haaretz)

Haaretz recently featured a Karaite Jewish wedding in its “Someone Else’s Simcha” series. I have wanted to do a post on Karaite weddings for a while – and this gives me the perfect opportunity.

The traditional Karaite Jewish wedding ceremony has several elements that are different from (and sometimes even problematic in) the Rabbinic tradition.

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Filed under Anan ben David, Weddings, Women in Karaism

Scandal Aside, Hit the Mikvehs

Disgraced Rabbi Freundel arrested on charges of voyeurism

Disgraced Rabbi Freundel arrested on charges of voyeurism

Over the last month the Rabbinic world has been rocked by the Washington, D.C. mikveh scandal, in which Orthodox Rabbi Freundel (allegedly) set up cameras in the local mikveh to record women during their ritual immersion.

Karaite Judaism does not believe that a mikveh is required for ritual purity. For us, a shower works. But I’m not here today to tell Rabbanite women to abandon the mikveh or Rabbanism altogether. Quite the opposite.

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Filed under Mikveh, Ritual Purity, Women in Karaism

Exclusive Report: Inside the Israeli Supreme Court’s Karaite Slaughtering Case

From Yediot Aharanot: Questions and Answers with Hakham Rashi Moshe Firrouz about the recent ban on Karaite slaughter.

From Yediot Aharanot: Questions and Answers with Hakham Rashi Moshe Firrouz about the recent ban on Karaite slaughter.

On September 17, 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing on whether the Israeli religious authorities (the “Rabbanut”) can withhold kosher certification from Rabbinically slaughtered poultry in independent slaughterhouses simply because a slaughterhouse also lets Karaites slaughter poultry in the same facility.  (The slaughterhouses at issue only deal with poultry.)

I first reported on this issue prior to Pesach, when Chief Hakham Moshe Firrouz was interviewed by an Israeli news service. And today, I catch up with Tomer Mangoubi, author of Mikdash Me’at, who was inside the Israeli Supreme Court during the hearing.

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Filed under Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Moshe Firrouz, Shechita

A Karaite Ketubah

The traditional Karaite Ketubah requires the signature of 10 Jewish witnesses. And in the Karaite tradition, men or women count as witnesses. Here is a video of how my wife and I integrated our  varying Jewish customs into our Ketubah.

If you would like to integrate a Karaite custom into your upcoming life-cycle events, please drop me a note.

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November 3, 2014 · 6:00 am

Why Rabbi Rosen at the algemeiner is (Mostly) Wrong about Karaite, Persian and Reform Jews

AlgemeinerEvery once in a while someone takes an unnecessary shot at Karaites and Karaism. Sometimes these shots actually cause collateral damage to the Rabbinic community. So, even though I hate to respond to modern polemics, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen at the algemeiner, you’ve got my attention.

Rabbi Rosen starts off well-meaning enough. He asks a simple question “Who are the Karaites, and do they keep Simchat Torah?” But from there he veers wildly off course. Let’s review.

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Filed under Aleppo Codex, Cairo Codex, Eli Shmuel, Judah Hadassi, Kashrut, Patrilineal Descent, Purim, Shechita, What is Karaite Judaism

Karaite Learns “Sad” Truth About Cairo Codex; Still Rejoices

Jacob Moussa holding the Cairo Codex, surrounded by Egyptian Karaites (still living in Cairo at the time).

Jacob Moussa holding an ancient manuscript in 1977, surrounded by Egyptian Karaites (still living in Cairo at the time).

The three most well-known codices in the Jewish biblical tradition are the Cairo Codex, the Aleppo Codex, and the Leningrad Codex. At one time or another, each was in possession of the Karaite Jewish community.

The Cairo Codex is an ancient vocalized manuscript of the Nevi’im, i.e., all of books of the prophets in the Tanakh. It is commonly believed that the Cairo Codex of the Prophets was written by the Karaite Moshe ben Asher in the year 895/896. [1.]

But it turns out that this common belief is almost certainly wrong.

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Filed under Aleppo Codex, Cairo Codex, Leningrad Codex, Moshe al D'ari Synagogue