A group of Karaites praying at a memorial service for a departed loved one.
Recently someone asked me to start posting about the modern Karaite Jewish experience again. You see, the Karaite Jewish experience was the crux of my blog in its early days. For many reasons, I’ve moved away from this – in favor of commenting on news, historical events, and highlighting where Karaite views are different from our Rabbanite brethren or have evolved over time.
But the modern Karaite Jewish struggle is real; and I am here to give a voice to that struggle. So here is a smattering of the things that people have said to my face in the past few months (and a proposed response, in case anyone says the same to you). I should note that most of the time, these comments are not made out of malice. But nonetheless, they sting.
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A few weeks ago, I had breakfast with someone who was planning to start Rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. After the meeting, he emailed me about a book called A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Rabbi Burton Visotzky, who teaches at JTS.
A Delightful Compendium is historical fiction and traces the lives of a Karaite Jewish family as they navigate through the Middle Ages. The family members struggle to hold onto their Karaite identity as a minority in the Jewish world.
Today, I am excited to catch up with Rabbi Visotzky about his book, A Delightful Compendium.
A Karaite Shochet’s First Meal: Goat Pizza.
(Photo Courtesy of T. Wheeler.)
By now, we all know that Karaites and Rabbanites have different traditions regarding kashrut (e.g., milk and meat and alyah). But the historical Karaite practice of slaughter (Hebrew: shechita) is also different from the Rabbinic practice.
Today, I catch up with Travis Wheeler, a Karaite schochet, and Eli Shmuel, a young Israeli Karaite, about the Karaite halakhic tradition regarding slaughter. Continue reading
On October 24, 2013, a group of 5-7th graders from a conservative synagogue visited Congregation B’nai Israel, the home of the Karaite Jews of America. This was my first presentation on Karaite Judaism in over a year. I was a bit rusty but it was good to get back in the saddle – even if my shirt collar was not behaving.
We recorded the presentation and it appears after the jump. Feel free to drop your comments below and let me know if there are things you’d want to see me incorporate into future presentations.
As discussed yesterday, one implication of the different perspectives of Karaites and Rabbanites is that Karaites never understood God to have commanded the separation of milk and meat as practiced by most observant Jews today. This topic is addressed in the below Karaite fact card, which derives its name from the famous Jimmy Buffett song, Cheeseburgers in Paradise.