While My Hazzan Gently Weeps

Shabbats are the toughest.

I used to look forward to them and they used to bring me so much joy. Now they depress me.

And I carry that sadness for days.

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Filed under Karaite Synagogues

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Omer

I usually don’t express my Karaite state of mind publicly, but I am generally worried about the survival of the movement and its philosophy. As you can imagine, we have a massive demographic disadvantage, and despite the fact that the internet is the great equalizer, we are structurally behind our Rabbanite kin in terms of infrastructure and resources. This worry of mine isn’t “new”. I’ve had these same worries since I was in my teens.

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Filed under Calendar, Counting of the Omer, Rotem Cohen, Shavuot

Music Madness 1: Help Me Choose My Favorite Son

(Source unknown)

In honor of March Madness, I thought I would do a series of posts asking you to choose which Karaite songs you like best.

Today’s contest is between two different renditions of the same song. The song is Lahatany Mivhar Banay, which translates to To my Groom, the Choicest of My Sons.

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Filed under poetry, Rotem Cohen, Simha Lutski

The Turkish Two-Step (?) In Karaite Poetry

Country Two-Step
(Source Unknown)

“The first step is the two-step,” sang the incomparable country musician Tracy Byrd. But Country music has nothing on the Turkish Two-Step (as I have dubbed it) and its apparent incorporation into Karaite poetry.

As I was reviewing some poetry for an upcoming birkon, I noticed that many poems printed in Karaite siddurim repeated the first two syllables of the chorus. As I was investigating why, I recalled the time I totally choked on singing the Karaite melody of Ki Eshmera Shabbat.

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Filed under ibn Ezra, Mordecai Ben Nisan, Riikka Tuori

Why is this Karaite Writing about the Shofar on “Rosh Hashana”?

Look at those blue fringes

A beautiful book for the feasts of the Seventh Month, produced by the Karaite community in Israel.

I really wanted to hate this song. And I really wanted to be frustrated at the Israeli Karaites who published it. These are not ideal qualities; I know. But once I took a deep breath, I realized that the song is absolutely beautiful; the Karaite sage who wrote about a shofar in a song about Yom Teruah (“Rosh Hashanah”) is a great poet; and I am a better person because of it.

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Filed under Mordecai Ben Nisan, poetry, Rosh Hashanah, Shofar, terua, Yom Teruah

Reader Poll: Can You Detect a Crimean Karaite Melody?

I know. I know. It’s not even Shavuot and here I am talking about lamentations for the month of Av. But I can’t stop listening to these snippets I received from Hazzan Rotem Cohen. He recorded the introductory words of a well-known Karaite lamentation for me in two renditions: once with the Egyptian tune and once with the Crimean tune. Today, I want to see if you can identify which is which.

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Filed under Aaron ben Joseph, Av, Mourning, Nir Nissim, Rotem Cohen, The Temple

That Time I Walked out of a Rabbanite Congregation

A two thousand year-old debate triggered a Rabbi.

What started out as a beautiful Shabbat evening with community and discussion devolved quickly – and mostly privately. First the orthodox rabbi made a mistake. Then I made two. Then the rabbi intended to offend me. He failed, but it was clear that I was not welcome. And I walked out. That might have been a mistake as well.

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Filed under Counting of the Omer, Shavuot