Category Archives: Eli Shmuel

What Karaite Jews *Must* Learn from Orthodox Jews

Agudath Israel of Baltimore

Agudath Israel of Baltimore

This past Sunday, I gave a talk on The Rise and Decline of the Karaite Movement to a group in Columbia, Maryland. Before that, I spent the weekend in Baltimore with an Orthodox Rabbi affiliated with Agudath Israel.

For those who do not know, Agudath Israel is about as Orthodox as it gets in the United States. Every conversation I had was filled with insight. I learned a lot more than religion; I saw first hand what Karaites must do to survive the next generation and beyond.

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Filed under Eli Shmuel, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Moshe Firrouz, State of the Movement

8 Days in Istanbul – an Oral History of Karaites in Byzantium

Interior of Historic Main Entrance to the Karaite Synagogue Compound in Istanbul

Interior of Historic Main Entrance to the Karaite Synagogue Compound in Istanbul

As we meandered through the streets of the Karakoy neighborhood of Istanbul, Avraham (among others on separate occasions) told me something rather intriguing: Karakoy was one of the areas of Istanbul where the Karaites used to live – and in fact Karakoy takes its name from the historical Karaite Jewish community.

I found this rather hard to believe. Could it really be that there were once so many Karaites in Istanbul, that an entire neighborhood was named after them?

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Filed under Eli Shmuel, Istanbul, Karaites In Bynzantium, Karakoy, Turkey

When I’m not Blogging: Karaite Projects Coming Down the Pike

Not enough time in the day to bring Karaites Back to the Future. (Source: www.independent.co.uk.)

Not enough time in the day to bring Karaites Back to the Future.
(Source: www.independent.co.uk.)

I feel like I owe A Blue Thread’s readers an explanation. The number of views for A Blue Thread continues to exceed my expectations, even though I am not posting as regularly as I used to – let alone, as often as I would like.

I just received an email from someone encouraged me to “keep blogging.” So, let me tell you what I’m working on when I’m not blogging. And I promise to blog more regularly, when things slow down. Continue reading

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Filed under Eli Shmuel, Mikdash Me'at, Shavuot

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

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

Prayer Customs of Karaite Jews (New Video – By Eli Shmuel)

Karaite Jewish LearningEli Shemuel is no longer in the U.S., but he keeps on trucking. Last night the Karaite Jews of America released another learning by Eli. This time, Eli is speaking about Karaite Jewish prayer customs.

I previously wrote a little about Karaite prayer customs here. Eli’s new video goes into more detail about removing our shoes, ritual purity, the structure of the Karaite prayer. Check out the beautiful music from the Karaite Jewish choir of Israel as well.

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Filed under Eli Shmuel, Full Prostration, Karaite Synagogues, Prayer, Ritual Purity, videos

Not All Jews Can Observe Passover Free From Oppression

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.

Those who follow the blog regularly know that I have tremendous respect for the Rabbinic tradition.  (See here and here.) Heck, I have even professed my “support” for the Rabbanut.

But, at some point, you just have to call a foul on the Israeli religious authorities and ask your fellow Jews a simple question: “What kind of Jewish world do you want to live in?”

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Filed under Eli Shmuel, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Karaites in Israel, Kashrut, Moshe Firrouz, Shechita, Uncategorized