Joe A. Wahed (Z”L) passed away on 12/31/13
This past Sunday, the Jewish community of the San Francisco Bay Area said good-bye to one of its most cherished members. Joseph A. Wahed, a Karaite Jew born in Egypt and active member of the Karaite Jews of America, was laid to rest.
As was repeated throughout the funeral, Wahed avoided intra-Jewish polemics and diatribes, and made no distinction in the level of respect he showed Jews of all movements and denominations (Rabbanites, Karaites, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform). Wahed’s attitudes toward his Jewish brethren echoed a letter written by a Rabbanite about 1000 years ago.
The gift that keeps on giving.
The new moon was sighted in Israel on May 11, 2013 – two days after the calculated Rabbinical calendar sets rosh chodesh (i.e., the start of the new month). As a result, most observant Karaites celebrated rosh chodesh on a different day from observant Rabbanites.
1100 years ago, though, (at least some) Palestinian Rabbanites set their calendar by the actual sighting of the new moon – and even observed “Rosh Hashanah” on a different day from the Babylonian Rabbanites.
A gift from friends. And an excellent read!
Whenever heated Karaite-Rabbanite polemics pop up these days, my initial reaction is to roll my eyes and sigh,”It’s not the Middle Ages anymore.”
Although such diatribes were once commonplace – and A Blue Thread has discussed some of them – I really try not to get lost in the rhetoric of yesteryear.
In that regard, I love finding information that turns these historical notions of strife upside-down.