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?
Professor Zvi Ankori, one of the most influential scholars in the field of Karaite Judaism, passed away last month.
Professor Ankori authored Karaites in Byzantium: The Formative Years, 970-1100, considered by many to be his magnum opus. The work is on the recommended reading list for the Karaite Jewish University.
In the introduction to the bibliography of Karaites in Byzantium, Professor Ankori wrote, “A comprehensive, classified, up-to-date bibliography of Karaitica is an urgent desideratum.” It was this sentence that, in part, inspired Professor Barry Dov Walfish to compile his recently-published Bibliographia Karaitica: An Annotated Bibliography of Karaites and Karaism.
Professor Ankori’s passing reminds me that one of my goals for this blog is to interview researchers and scholars in the field of Karaite Judaism. Perhaps we’ll do a handful of such interviews in the coming year.
Karaites and academics are indebted to Professor Ankori for his many contributions. I recently received the following necrology for Professor Ankori.