Category Archives: James Walker

The Sayings of Moshe: A Revelation in Karaite Thought

James Walker (second from right) with Avi Yefet, Chief H’ Moshe Firrouz, and Hazzan Rotem Cohen (Left to Right)

The Karaite Jews of America recently published The Sayings of Moshe: Insights on Living by the Tanakh. This work is a collection of sermons and Divrei Torah by the late Rabbi Moshe ben Shabbetai Ratzon, an Egyptian-born Karaite Jew who was part of the 20th century exodus of Jews from Egypt.

Of note, Rabbi Moshe was not afraid to blaze his own path and differ with his Karaite co-religionists (to say nothing of the rabbinic mainstream). Rabbi Moshe’s fresh perspectives demonstrate that Karaite thought is alive and well. Today, I interview James Walker who translated The Sayings of Moshe (Hebrew title: Imerot Moshe).

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Filed under Books, James Walker, The Sayings of Moshe

The Open Karaite Initiative: Why the KJA Did It

Today, The Karaite Press (a project of the Karaite Jews of America) launches its Open Karaite Initiative. In short, this project will advance access to historical Karaite Jewish literature like never before. The KJA is planning to bring all of its Karaite literature online and make it available for free (with very few use restrictions). And as a show of good faith, The Karaite Press is releasing the fully typeset .pdf of The Palanquin on its site.  Did we already mention “for free”?

More details below.

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Filed under James Walker, Open Karaite Initiative, The Karaite Press, The Palanquin, The Sayings of Moshe

Learning 3: A Karaite Perspective on the High Holidays

How many of these rituals are what the Torah intended?

May you reach the end of the holidays and rejoice for completing them. In case you were not able to join us for the live webinar, my latest learning has been posted to YouTube. And is also embedded below.

In this talk you’ll learn: 1) Whether we are commanded by the Torah’s text to blow a shofar; 2) What the Jewish sages said about the connection between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur; 3) What are we supposed to do with those “four species”, and 4) what Biblical holiday has Simhath Torah overshadowed.

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Filed under Daniel al-Kumisi, Holidays, Jacob ben Reuben, James Walker, Lithuania, My Talks, Shofar, Solomon ben Aaron, The Karaite Press, The Palanquin, videos, Yefet ben 'Ali, Yom Kippur, Yom Teruah

Karaite Reaches North American Finals at Tanakh Competition

James (Ya'aqov) Walker at the International Tanakh competition

James (Ya’aqov) Walker at the International Tanakh competition in November 2014.

I first started corresponding with James Walker about eight years ago, when I was still in law school and he was interested in converting to Judaism through the Karaite movement.

To be frank, I was inspired by the fact that Karaite Judaism could link a California-descendant of Egyptian Karaites and a black man from the South. And to be even more frank, I was immediately impressed with his knowledge of Hebrew and Scripture – which far surpassed mine.

James’ knowledge of the Tanakh recently earned him a place in the North American finals in the State of Israel’s Tanakh competition, and today I catch up with him about his experience at the finals in New York this past November.

 

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Filed under James Walker, Karaite Jews of America, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Karaites in Israel, Moshe Firrouz