Last week, I gave a talk to the Jewish Community Library of San Francisco on the Passover customs of Karaite Jews. The talk was recorded, and I’ve edited the portions that deal specifically with the Passover Seder and Hag HaMatzot. Check it out after the jump.
The presentation includes a snippet of an interview with an Egyptian Karaite who has an incredibly unique Passover memory. And if you missed this week’s Washington Post article on Karaite Jewish Passover foods, here you go.
Real-Life Karaites Pray Here!
It seems like whenever an orthodox rabbi wants to win a halakhic debate he compares his opponents (or their position) to Karaites (or Karaism). To be honest, these comparisons are sometimes the best publicity Karaites can get. I can name dozens of Karaites whose first introduction to Karaite Judaism was through a rabbi who criticized them for holding Karaite beliefs.
But there’s something deeper and more troubling going on with these comparisons.
Should we all refuse wine on Passover?
As most Jews prepare their four cups of wine for their first and second seders, I ask whether Jews should even consume wine on Passover in the first place.
Most Karaites of Egyptian descent believe that wine is forbidden on Passover. These Karaites have pure, unadulterated grape juice with their seders.
But historically there was a debate amongst Karaites themselves as to whether wine constitutes hametz. If wine is hametz, it should be avoided during Passover.
Today, I do my best to lay out the contours of the debate.