Crescent new moon in the Land of Israel.
We hear a lot these days of “identity politics.” Today, I explore “identity halacha” and realize that my religious Karaite identity is slowly getting turned on its head. And I’m fine with that.
For approximately 15 years, I have been a zealous advocate of using the moon in the Land of Israel to determine when to observe our holidays in the Diaspora. I set this forth in a book. I stated this in a Karaite Fact Card. And I couldn’t count how many times I stated this at the Karaite synagogue.
But over the last year, I’ve come to realize that I might have been wrong.
Moshe Firrouz receiving The Prof. Naphtali Wieder Prize for Scholarship in Medieval History and
Exegesis, Ben Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East
Today, I catch up with Moshe Firrouz. Although I’ve known Moshe personally for almost 10 years, it is still a bit odd for me to refer to him without a title. After all, he is the Chief Hakham of the Karaite Community.
But Moshe cares more about serving Hashem than he does about titles.
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?”
The Karaite Jews of America’s Booth at JFNA’s TribeFest.
Eli Shmuel and I are here in New Orleans at the Jewish Federation of North America’s TribeFest 2014 – which is awesome so far. Over Shabbat, Eli and I were discussing whether we (Karaites, Rabbanites, others) know the true color of techellet.
And the conversation led me to one of the most profound realizations of my young life.
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
Were any Karaite Divorce Documents Found in the Cairo Geniza?
I’ll start by expressing the same shock that most of the Jewish community felt last week upon learning of the arrests of three NY Orthodox rabbis. According to sources in the linked article, these rabbis, ran a ring in which “Orthodox wives seeking divorce ma[de] payments to the rabbis—-in some cases up to $100,000.” Apparently, the rabbis “then facilitated the divorce, often through violent means, with the rabbis hiring thugs to beat the Orthodox Jewish husbands into” agreeing to grant their wives a religious divorce document, commonly called a “get.”
The Karaite halakha actually makes an occurrence like this virtually impossible.
Did Phil Ivey put a stumbling block in front of a blind man to the tune of $12 million?
Over the past few days the internet has been buzzing about whether “[a]ccomplished gambler and noted professional poker player Phil Ivey” should be paid his gambling winnings after a manufacturing defect allowed him (allegedly) to “read” the back of cards at a London casino. (See Larry Brown, Phil Ivey Reportedly Read Back of Cards to Win $11.9 Million at Casino.)
Ivey contends he did not violate any laws; but I wonder whether his actions violated the Torah.