Category Archives: Passover

Amazing Matzah, Truly Bitter Herbs and Other Passover Customs of Karaite Jews (New Video)

Library PresentationLast week, I gave a talk to the Jewish Community Library of San Francisco on the Passover customs of Karaite Jews.  The talk was recorded, and I’ve edited the portions that deal specifically with the Passover Seder and Hag HaMatzot.  Check it out after the jump.

The presentation includes a snippet of an interview with an Egyptian Karaite who has an incredibly unique Passover memory. And if you missed this week’s Washington Post article on Karaite Jewish Passover foods, here you go.

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Filed under Hametz, Passover, videos

Karaite Matzah Photo Contest Winner & Vote for the Runner-Up

Baking Matzah

Baking Matzah

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Matzah Photo Contest.  It was a lot of fun for me to review the submissions.

And based on the number of photos I’ve received, it seems like other such contests might be in the future. Now that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is behind us, it’s time to announce this year’s photo contest winner and let you vote on the runner-up.

So without further ado, the winner is . . .

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Filed under Holidays, Karaite Fact Cards, Passover, Photo Contests

Should Jews Stop “Wining” on Passover?

Should we all refuse wine on Passover? Source:

Should we all refuse wine on Passover?

As most Jews prepare their four cups of wine for their first and second seders, I ask whether Jews should even consume wine on Passover in the first place.

Most Karaites of Egyptian descent believe that wine is forbidden on Passover. These Karaites have pure, unadulterated grape juice with their seders.

But historically there was a debate amongst Karaites themselves as to whether wine constitutes hametz. If wine is hametz, it should be avoided during Passover.

Today, I do my best to lay out the contours of the debate.

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Filed under Aderet Eliyahu, Elijah Baschyatchi, Hametz, Passover

The Karaite Kitniyot Experiment

PassoverAre Karaites the original Food Detectives?

The Karaites of the middle ages actually conducted experiments to determine whether the flours of grains and kitniyot (usually translated as “legumes”) can become hametz (leaven). And with the help of Yochanan Labombarbe, the Dean of Students for the Karaite Jewish University, we’ve recreated (most of) those experiments.

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Filed under Aharon ben Eliyahu, Karaite Korner, Passover, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

Shana Tovah: And a (Completely Made-Up) Karaite Tradition

Could One of These be A Blue Thread's Official New Year Brew?Source: *

Could One of These be A Blue Thread’s Official New Year Brew?
Source: *

L’Shanah Tovah, everyone.

As noted in our last few posts, the Jewish New Year begins with the first new moon after the barley in the Land of Israel reaches the stage of development known as Aviv.

Over the past days, several individuals have confirmed that the barley is Aviv, and we have received numerous reports that new moon was sighted in Israel on March 13, 2013. So. . . yeah; Happy New Year.

It occurs to me that we need a fun New Year’s tradition – something similar to the Rabbanite use of “apples and honey” for their Rosh Hashanah. So here is my best shot.

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Filed under Aviv, Calendar, Passover

Turkic, Crimean and Lithuanian Karaite Matzah Recipe

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Karaites have historically flourished in places outside of Egypt. But the Karaites of Turkey, Crimea, and Lithuania all thrived at one time or another. As pointed out in the comments to the post on Egyptian Karaite matzah recipe, these other communities had a form of matzah called Timbil.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a high resolution image of Timbil, but Avraham Ben-Rahamiël Qanaï, who is a co-author of the Introduction to Karaite Judaism, provided the following:



According to Avraham, this type of Timbil is made with flour and water: “The top is rubbed with oil (and sometimes sprinkled with Nigella seeds) and scored in a criss-cross or diamond pattern before baking.”

Happy cooking and remember to submit your photos for the photo contest to by April 2, 2013.

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Filed under Crimea, Lithuania, Passover, Recipes, Turkey

Karaite Fact Card 8: Karaite Matzah Recipe (and Photo Contest)

Now that Purim is behind us, most Jews* are starting to plan for Passover, which they will be observing from the evening of March 25, 2013 through the evening of April 2, 2013.

Check out this matzah recipe used by the Egyptian Karaite community – which I promise you is better than store bought matzah.  Okay; that’s not really saying much . . . but give it a shot.

Karaite Fact Card 8 (Front): Karaite Matzah Recipe Karaite Fact Card 8 (Back): Karaite Matzah Recipe

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Filed under Holidays, Karaite Fact Cards, New Moon, Passover, Photo Contests, Recipes