Reader Poll: Vote on an Official Number for Karaite Gifting

Many Karaites (especially those like me who had a great Karaite awakening in life) feel some discomfort with the number 18. Don’t get me wrong: we don’t lose sleep over it; but we definitely wonder whether Karaites can find a different number to associate with gifting. To-date, the most common number of Jewish gifting remains $18 (and multiples thereof), because in the gematria, $18 represents life. It also represents a whole bunch of other things, but let’s not mention those.

Since Karaites tend to avoid gematria for mystical purposes, I thought our online community can vote for an official number or Karaite gifting.

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Filed under Donation, Gematria

Create Karaite Versions of Rabbanite Stories – Reader Contest

Source: National Geographic Kids

Let’s start by saying that this post is intended to be fun. It is also intended to explain Karaite Judaism to people who (despite our best efforts) still need some help. So today, I am starting a contest.

Here is how it works. Below, I will create a Karaite version of a famous Rabbanite story. In the comments, I invite you to do the same. I (in my sole and unreviewable discretion) will pick the top three stories from the comments. I will then create a poll in a future post for readers to vote on the best story. The three finalists will receive gift certificates to The Karaite Press in the following amounts:

  1. Grand Prize Winner: $100
  2. First Runner Up: $50
  3. Second Runner Up: $25
  4. Everyone Else: Will Get What’s in the Box

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Filed under Daniel al-Kumisi

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

Yes; I Do Keep Real Kosher (And Other Struggles of Modern Karaites)

A group of Karaites praying at a memorial service for a departed loved one.

Recently someone asked me to start posting about the modern Karaite Jewish experience again. You see, the Karaite Jewish experience was the crux of my blog in its early days. For many reasons, I’ve moved away from this – in favor of commenting on news, historical events, and highlighting where Karaite views are different from our Rabbanite brethren or have evolved over time.

But the modern Karaite Jewish struggle is real; and I am here to give a voice to that struggle. So here is a smattering of the things that people have said to my face in the past few months (and a proposed response, in case anyone says the same to you). I should note that most of the time, these comments are not made out of malice. But nonetheless, they sting.

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Filed under Kashrut, Milk and Meat, Prayer, Rabbanite Privilege, What is Karaite Judaism

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

My Interview with Dr. Gabriel Wasserman – Translator of “Royal Attire”

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-11-12-40-amAs you now know, I have spent much of my last year in Karaite terms getting The Karaite Press off the ground. Dr. Gabriel Wasserman (PhD, Yeshiva University) has been incredibly instrumental in that process. Not only has he given me guidance on various projects, but he himself has translated the incredibly successful publication Royal Attire: On Karaite and Rabbanite Beliefs.

Today I interview Gabriel about his experience translating Karaite works, and in honor of this interview, The Karaite Press is selling Royal Attire for 20% off for the entire month of January.

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Filed under Aaron ben Joseph, Dr. Gabriel Wasserman, Karaite Press, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Royal Attire, The Karaite Press

The Karaite Press: A Qualified Success

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-29-26-amI receive emails almost daily about why I have stopped blogging regularly. Some people have even asked whether I have abdicated my blogger’s chair. I have not. (In truth, there are many empty chairs next to me; so if you want one, please have a seat.)

There are only so many hours in the day – and this year, I have focused considerable energy in getting The Karaite Press off the ground. For background, The Karaite Press is a project of the Karaite Jews of America, and its aim is to provide literary resources for Karaite Jews and Jews interested in Karaite Judaism.

The Karaite Press Launched in February 2016, by taking pre-orders for the book Esther Explained, a commentary on the Book of Esther, by Hakham Jacob ben Reuben (12 century, Byzantium). Today, I am happy to announce that The Karaite Press has been a success, and I will offer thoughts on where The Press can go from here.

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Filed under Esther Explained, Haggadah, Karaite Fact Cards, Royal Attire, The Karaite Press