Three Abducted Israeli Teens
(Source: Times of Israel)
Last week, the Jewish world was rocked by (yet again) news that three Israeli citizens had been abducted by Palestinian terrorists. I don’t profess any particular insight as to what to do about this (recurring) situation. Nor do I believe these latest abductions will be the last.
Today, I simply pray for their safe return and highlight the need for Jewish unity at times like this.
The scene of cross-denominational dialogue
Around Passover, Sara and Elijah, two students from a Talmud study group at UC Berkeley’s (Go Bears!) Hillel, spent the weekend at the Karaite synagogue in Daly City. Not only did they join us for Shabbat prayers, they actually prostrated in the traditional Karaite fashion.
I recently posed six questions to them about their experience at the synagogue.
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?”
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.
I don’t believe I’d ever met Mourad El-Kodsi (at least not when I was old enough to remember), but everyone says he had a special spirit. Despite his failing health, he worked tirelessly to finish the Second Edition of his magnum opus, The Karaite Jews of Egypt (1882-1986). He passed away just a few months after the book went to print, and today his work is a must have.
The Karaite Jews of America has generously donated 18 copies of the book’s Second Edition for A Blue Thread’s November 2013 give-away.
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef.
Source: WikiCommons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ovadya_Yosef.jpg
This week, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the long-time spiritual leader of the Sephardi movement, passed away. The reactions of the Jewish world have been far-ranging and I don’t intend to express any opinions on his legacy or his halacha.
But Rabbi Yosef’s passing reminded me that he has encouraged marriages between Rabbanites and Karaites so that Karaites would eventually accept the Oral Law.
Ankori’s Magnum Opus is a Must Read
Several weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a friend and we were discussing the state of the Karaite movement. “I think if we look at the history of the movement from the outside, the calendar issue is really what hurt Karaites,” my friend posited.
Because the historical Karaite calendar was based on empirical observations of the new moon and the ripeness of the barley, devout Karaites (especially those in the Diaspora) often disagreed as to when the true biblical holidays should be celebrated.
The Rabbanites historically mocked Karaites about this disunity. (Perhaps rightly.)