Category Archives: Shechita

My Vision: A Response to the Karaite Jews of America’s Open Request

I have thoughts for what should happen here and beyond.

Over the past few weeks, the Karaite Jews of America asked members of the community at large to share their vision regarding the future of Karaite Judaism. I did not respond directly to the KJA, because I thought that a very courageous public request deserves a public response. So, here are my thoughts.

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Filed under Karaite Jews of America, Shechita, Tallit, Techellet

Ritual Slaughter, Karaite Meat for Passover, and My Interview with Shohet Travis Wheeler

Almost a year ago, I lost my beloved uncle, Benjamin Pessah, the last Egyptian Karaite Jew actively practicing shehita in the United States. At that time, I made a personal resolution to continue to promote Karaite shehita whenever possible. Last week, the Karaite Jews of America released a new work on Karaite shehita. The work is Ritual SlaughterA Guide to Modern Karaite Jewish Practice.

Today, I interview Travis Wheeler, the only shohet in the United States to be trained by the Karaite community of Israel. In fact, he was trained by H’ Moshe Firrouz, the Chief Hakham of the Council of Sages. Travis owns Six Star Meat and Poultry and recently released his Passover pricing list.

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Filed under Moshe Firrouz, Passover, Shechita, The Karaite Press, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

Introducing Karaite Questions & Answers

Exterior of the historic Karaite Jewish synagogue in Turkey.

Exterior of the historic Karaite Jewish synagogue in Turkey.

Greetings from Turkey, where I am spending the week for work. I have visited the incredibly warm and wonderful Karaite Jewish community here; and I will do a post or two about them next week.  In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about a new project I am working on: Karaite Questions & Answers.

For many years, Acting Rav Joe Pessah of the Karaite Jews of America has asked me to put together something that is the Karaite Jewish equivalent of the Jewish Book of Why. While I think the Jewish Book of Why is a great resource, I wanted to do something a little bit different.

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Filed under Questions & Answers, Shechita

Why I Choose to Eat “Ashkenazi” Karaite Meat

End of Shechita LoCBreaking News: Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court of the State of Israel
ruled in favor of the Karaites in a court case against the State’s religious authorities, who had tried to prevent Karaites from slaughtering in independent slaughterhouses that were under the Rabbanut’s supervision. I dedicate this post to everyone who worked so hard on that case.

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In the Rabbinic community, there are famous debates concerning the minhagim (and halakha) of Ashkenazi and Sefardi Jews. Everyone is familiar with the Passover/kitniyot debate. And historically it was the case that if you were from an Ashkenazi family, you followed your own minhag; and your Sefardi friends followed their own.

Geographic divisions like this, tend not to exist in the Karaite community. But historically there was one debate that divided the Karaites on theological lines, and caused a rift among geographical lines that somewhat reflects the Ashkenazi/Sefardi divide in the Rabbinic community.

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Filed under Aharon ben Eliyahu, Kashrut, Maimonides, Passover, Shechita, Turkey, Yisrael HaMa'aravi

Exclusive Report: Inside the Israeli Supreme Court’s Karaite Slaughtering Case

From Yediot Aharanot: Questions and Answers with Hakham Rashi Moshe Firrouz about the recent ban on Karaite slaughter.

From Yediot Aharanot: Questions and Answers with Hakham Rashi Moshe Firrouz about the recent ban on Karaite slaughter.

On September 17, 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing on whether the Israeli religious authorities (the “Rabbanut”) can withhold kosher certification from Rabbinically slaughtered poultry in independent slaughterhouses simply because a slaughterhouse also lets Karaites slaughter poultry in the same facility.  (The slaughterhouses at issue only deal with poultry.)

I first reported on this issue prior to Pesach, when Chief Hakham Moshe Firrouz was interviewed by an Israeli news service. And today, I catch up with Tomer Mangoubi, author of Mikdash Me’at, who was inside the Israeli Supreme Court during the hearing.

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Filed under Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Moshe Firrouz, Shechita

Why Rabbi Rosen at the algemeiner is (Mostly) Wrong about Karaite, Persian and Reform Jews

AlgemeinerEvery 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.

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Filed under Aleppo Codex, Cairo Codex, Eli Shmuel, Judah Hadassi, Kashrut, Patrilineal Descent, Purim, Shechita, What is Karaite Judaism

Karaites are Really Bad Literalists

Babylonian TalmudSomeone recently told me that he found the Karaite Jewish approach to halakha rather nonintellectual, because Karaites only follow what the Torah says and do not search for the deeper meaning.

Oy! Karaites do not follow what the Torah “says;” we seek to follow what the Torah “means.” These two things are not always the same. Today, let’s look at some of my favorite non-literal Karaite interpretations.

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Filed under Marriages, Shechita, Tefillin