Category Archives: Karaite Press

Women on the Fringes: Which Karaite Sages got it Right? (Reader Poll)

I was recently having a discussion with a fellow Karaite regarding the various stages of Karaite thought. In brief, he summarized that there were (in his estimation, as well as others) three main periods of Karaite halakhic  literature: (i) early; (ii) late; and (iii) very late. Today, I am going to use the example of women and techellet and demonstrate how each of these periods approached this issue.

In my opinion, we can trace the decline of the Karaite movement by looking at the methods these sages employed in explaining our religious conclusions, regardless of whether we agree with the ultimate conclusion itself.  At the end, you get to vote who got it right.

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Filed under Aderet Eliyahu, Aharon ben Eliyahu, Elijah Baschyatchi, Eshkol Hakofer, Judah Hadassi, Karaite Fact Cards, Karaite Press, Levi ben Yefet, Royal Attire, The Karaite Press, Women in Karaism, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

My Interview with Dr. Gabriel Wasserman – Translator of “Royal Attire”

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-11-12-40-amAs you now know, I have spent much of my last year in Karaite terms getting The Karaite Press off the ground. Dr. Gabriel Wasserman (PhD, Yeshiva University) has been incredibly instrumental in that process. Not only has he given me guidance on various projects, but he himself has translated the incredibly successful publication Royal Attire: On Karaite and Rabbanite Beliefs.

Today I interview Gabriel about his experience translating Karaite works, and in honor of this interview, The Karaite Press is selling Royal Attire for 20% off for the entire month of January.

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Filed under Aaron ben Joseph, Dr. Gabriel Wasserman, Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Royal Attire, The Karaite Press

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz of ‘Jew in the City’ is Welcome in My Tent

There is a rabbinic tradition that Abraham and Sarah were so welcoming that they would leave their tent open on all four sides in order to welcome strangers. [1.] So it always amuses me when Rabbanite Jews discuss which Jewish thoughts are not welcome in their modern tent.

Just this week, Rabbi Jack Abramowitz wrote a very good and thought provoking piece on who is “in the tent.” And today, I invite him into my tent, even though he won’t welcome me into his.

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Filed under Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Ortho-Curious

Sandy Koufax, Meet Rotem Cohen

The cover of one of the sections of Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper, featuring Rotem Cohen after he decided not to compete on Shavuot.

The cover of one of the sections of Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper, featuring Rotem Cohen after he decided not to compete on Shavuot.

Many are aware that Sandy Koufax, the legendary Dodgers pitcher, decided not to pitch in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

In 2011, Rotem Cohen, an Israeli Karaite Jew, decided not to participate live in the Israeli vocal talent show A Star is Born (Hebrew: Kochav Nolad*), when one of the rounds of the competition fell on the Karaite Shavuot. His decision affected his chances to advance on the show. But Rotem doesn’t regret a thing.

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Filed under Calendar, Holidays, Karaite Press, Karaites in Israel, Shavuot

Why I Support the Rabbanut

Are we headed for a Karaites of the Wall moment? (Source: Wiki Commons, Wayne McLean; Western wall in Jerusalem at night)

Are we headed for a Karaites of the Wall moment?
(Source: Wiki Commons, Wayne McLean; Western wall in Jerusalem at night)

Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome. But even as a Karaite, I can’t help but respect the Rabbanut.

The Rabbanut is organized, has a clear vision, and serves a vital role in protecting the Jewish nature – at least as the Rabbanut defines “Jewish” – of the State of Israel.

But last week, The Economist ran a troubling article about how the Rabbanut appears to have taken aim at the Karaite community. (See The Economist, Who’s  A Jew: An old religious argument once again rears its angry head, May 18, 2013, Jerusalem.)

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Filed under Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations

Excommunication and the Halakhah of Marriage

The Rise of the Karaite SectWell, this is a serious bummer.

1000 years ago, the Karaite communities of Ramle and Jerusalem probably would have excommunicated my grandparents.

You see; my maternal grandmother and her sister married my maternal grandfather and his brother, respectively. Two brothers married two sisters (in separate marriages).

I always thought this was beautiful. But from at least the time of Anan and for several hundred years thereafter, the majority of Karaites forbade many types of marriage, including the marriage of two brothers to two sisters.*

And, according to a piece appearing online at the Jerusalem Post this past weekend, some of the Karaites of the 11th Century had no problem tormenting Karaites who violated this prohibition. (See A Problematic Marriage for 11th Century Karaites.)

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Filed under Jerusalem, Jeshua ben Judah, Karaite Press, Marriages, Ramle, Spain

Rejection, Rebellion and Revolt

"What is believed to be the Maccabees' relics - kept in the Maccabees Shrine - is venerated in St. Andrew Church, Cologne, Germany."Image Source and Description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabees

“What is believed to be the Maccabees’ relics – kept in the Maccabees Shrine – is venerated in St. Andrew Church, Cologne, Germany.”
Image Source and Description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabees

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that David Suissa, President of the Jewish Journal, was paying a compliment to Karaite Jews when he recently referred to us as “rebellious” due to our rejection of the Talmud.

I’ve met Mr. Suissa on a few occasions (though he probably would not remember me) and several years back I actually heard him speak at a Shabbat dinner in a private home in Los Angeles. In every instance, he has shown himself to be a sincere individual and a dedicated Jew. I was, thus, particularly flattered when Mr. Suissa likened Karaites to rebels – especially around this time of year when most Jews throughout the world will soon begin the celebration of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah commemorates one of the most successful rebellions in the history of our people. The Maccabees, as they are commonly referred to, were the heroes and leaders of a rebellion against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Because of the Maccabean Revolt, the Jewish people reclaimed The Temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel. The word Hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication.”

But the connection between Karaites and the Maccabees is much deeper than my not-so-artful twist on the word “rebellious.”

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Filed under David Suissa, Hanukkah, Jewish Journal, Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Maccabees, Pharisees, Sadducees, Shabbat Candles, The Temple