Every once in a while someone takes an unnecessary shot at Karaites and Karaism. Sometimes these shots actually cause collateral damage to the Rabbinic community. So, even though I hate to respond to modern polemics, Rabbi Jeremy Rosen at the algemeiner, you’ve got my attention.
Rabbi Rosen starts off well-meaning enough. He asks a simple question “Who are the Karaites, and do they keep Simchat Torah?” But from there he veers wildly off course. Let’s review.
All in the Family: Not Written by Karaites
CNN’s Belief Blog recently described how Archie Bunker, a caricature of a pre-civil-rights-movement bigot and the patriarch on the television series All in the Family, is taken to task by his liberal son-in-law for being an anti-Semite. To convince Archie to abandon his anti-Semitic views, Archie’s son-in-law reminds him that Jesus was Jewish. Archie comically quips back, “Only on his mother’s side.”
Archie’s rejoinder is interesting on many levels. If (as according to Christian theology) Jesus is the son of God, Jesus’ non-maternal lineage actually bolsters (not lessens) the point that Archie should not have ill-feelings towards Jews.
Archie’s response also strikes another religious chord; according to generally accepted Jewish beliefs, a child is Jewish if his mother is Jewish. Under this view, Jesus’ maternal Jewish lineage is the all that matters, which also supports Archie’s son-in-law’s argument.
Apparently, the writers of All in the Family were not Karaites.