Category Archives: Yaqub al-Qirqisani

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

Women on the Fringes: Which Karaite Sages got it Right? (Reader Poll)

I was recently having a discussion with a fellow Karaite regarding the various stages of Karaite thought. In brief, he summarized that there were (in his estimation, as well as others) three main periods of Karaite halakhic  literature: (i) early; (ii) late; and (iii) very late. Today, I am going to use the example of women and techellet and demonstrate how each of these periods approached this issue.

In my opinion, we can trace the decline of the Karaite movement by looking at the methods these sages employed in explaining our religious conclusions, regardless of whether we agree with the ultimate conclusion itself.  At the end, you get to vote who got it right.

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Filed under Aderet Eliyahu, Aharon ben Eliyahu, Elijah Baschyatchi, Eshkol Hakofer, Judah Hadassi, Karaite Fact Cards, Karaite Press, Levi ben Yefet, Royal Attire, The Karaite Press, Women in Karaism, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

Women, Blue Fringes and the Further Need to Revive Early Karaite Literature

Look at those blue fringes

Look at those blue fringes! But why aren’t the women wearing them?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Azriel Kowtek shared her passion for blue fringes and tying tzitzit with several of us who attended the KJA’s shavuot gathering. Last week, I wrote about the importance of reviving Karaite literature. And this past Shabbat, Rabbanite Jews read the Torah portion related to the commandment to wear blue fringes. [1.]

In the Rabbinic tradition, women are not required to wear blue fringes. Let’s see what the early Karaite literature says on the topic.

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Filed under Judah Hadassi, Mikdash Me'at, Tallit, Techellet, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

What I Learned on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah

I Heart ChabadWhere to begin? I’ve spent the better part of two weeks explaining that the holiday Jews just celebrated is not “Rosh Hashanah” – and I’ve also tirelessly explained that Karaites do not observe an additional day for our holidays.

So, I never thought I’d be writing a post about profound life lessons I learned on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah.

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Filed under Chabad, Daniel al-Kumisi, Rosh Hashanah, Yaqub al-Qirqisani, Yefet ben 'Ali, Yom Teruah

Six Questions & Answers: Moshe Firrouz, Chief Neighbor of the Karaite Community

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

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.

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Filed under Judah Hadassi, Moshe Firrouz, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

Rambam’s Revenge: Rationalism & the Karaite Renaissance

Make no mistake about it, Rambam was bad for Karaism. And despite the whisperings of some Karaites, Rambam was not a closet Karaite. He just wasn’t.

But the Rabbinic community’s growing return to Rambam-based principles is undeniably good for Karaites and Karaism. Today we look at Rambam’s impact on Karaism both historically and today.

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Filed under Maimonides, Rationalism, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Karaite Marriage

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. Source: WikiCommons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ovadya_Yosef.jpg

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef.
Source: WikiCommons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ovadya_Yosef.jpg

This week, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the long-time spiritual leader of the Sephardi movement, passed away. The reactions of the Jewish world have been far-ranging and I don’t intend to express any opinions on his legacy or his halacha.

But Rabbi Yosef’s passing reminded me that he has encouraged marriages between Rabbanites and Karaites so that Karaites would eventually accept the Oral Law.

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Filed under Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Kashrut, Shabbat Candles, Yaqub al-Qirqisani