This may be (but hopefully is not) the only bookshelf in the world in which Karaites in Byzantium is next to Artscroll’s Chumash
Oy. Where to begin. Just over a month ago, I spoke at a Jewish high school about issues in Karaite Judaism – particularly as they implicate Shabbat and technology. Speaking with me was a conservative rabbi who happened to grow up at the same conservative synagogue that I did – though we did not know each other previously. This synagogue housed the KJA and our Shabbat prayers from 1984-1990.
After a quick introduction – curses started flying.
Photo Source: CNN
This past weekend Karaite Jews throughout the world read the Torah portion of Chukat (Numbers 19:1–22:1), and this coming weekend, Rabbanite Jews will do the same. Each Shabbat, I give a talk at the Karaite Jews of America’s synagogue in Daly City. Because those talks are not the point of the blog, I’ve resisted posting them here.
But after this last weekend’s talk, some people urged me to post it online. So, I am making a one-time (I think) exception. Here you go:
A group of Karaites praying at a memorial service for a departed loved one.
A few weeks ago, I received a well-reasoned and thoughtful letter from a (non-historically Karaite) Jewish man who has been attending the Karaite Jewish synagogue in Daly City for a few months. He said that the Shabbat service is the best asset the KJA has, because it is more engaging than its Rabbinic counterparts. He added, though, that he hoped the KJA would find a way to make more parts of the service accessible to persons who do not speak Hebrew.
His email to me was well-timed; the KJA had just put together a committee to review its siddur and to reflect on the nature of our services. Exciting things are on the horizon.
There is a Rabbinic saying that when Mashiach comes, Jews will adopt the opinions of Beit Shammai. I don’t know whether this saying is correct, but I do chuckle every time I hear it.
You see, in one very interesting way, the Shabbat practice of Beit Shammai is virtually identical to the historical Karaite view.