Several weeks ago, I was out to dinner with a friend and we were discussing the state of the Karaite movement. “I think if we look at the history of the movement from the outside, the calendar issue is really what hurt Karaites,” my friend posited.
Because the historical Karaite calendar was based on empirical observations of the new moon and the ripeness of the barley, devout Karaites (especially those in the Diaspora) often disagreed as to when the true biblical holidays should be celebrated.
The Rabbanites historically mocked Karaites about this disunity. (Perhaps rightly.)
Well, centuries have passed and (for better or worse) Karaites still aren’t unified on an approach to the calendar. This past month, Karaites throughout the world observed their holidays according to any of three systems: 1) the Calculated Rabbinic Calendar; 2) the Calculated Karaite Calendar; and 3) the Sighting of the New Moon.
Karaites seemingly are obsessed with when to observe the holidays, because Karaites recognize that the calculated Rabbinic Calendar does not in fact correspond to new moon sightings in Israel. [1.] This is a significant issue for Jews, because observing holidays at the correct time is a biblical requirement (see Leviticus 23:4), which Karaites historically took very seriously.
For example, Daniel al-Kumisi, whom many credit with launching Karaism’s Golden Age, encouraged his Karaite brethren to physically sight the new moon and not to fear the Rabbanites on the issue of the calendar. [2.] And interestingly, the Rabbanites themselves also feuded internally about proper times to celebrate their holidays. [3.]
Most interesting to me are examples of ketubot from Karaite-Rabbanite marriages from the middle ages – especially where a Rabbanite man is marrying a Karaite woman. By way of background, in the Rabbinic tradition a woman generally takes the halakhic practices of her husband. So it is telling when a Rabbanite man adopts the calendar-based halacha of his Karaite wife.
In a Karaite-Rabbanite ketubah from twelfth-century Fustat, where Karaites and Rabbanites coexisted, we find that the Rabbanite groom and Karaite bride agreed not to desecrate the holidays of the other community, and that “they both bound themselves sincerely, willingly and forthrightly to follow the custom of the Karaites [Bene Mikra] who observe the sanctified festivals according to lunar observation and to the finding of abib in the Land of Israel.” [4.]
My general view is that if Karaites today had more internal strength and external credibility, the calendar issue today would not lead to a rift. And even some Rabbanites would join in celebrating the holidays on the proper dates. In fact, Karaite authors from 1000 years ago tell us that some Rabbanites (even after the Rabbanite calendar dispute was considered settled) observed the holidays according to the Karaite dates (while some Karaites observed the holidays according to the Rabbanite dates). [5.]
As I see it, Karaites need to focus on re-invigorating the movement in all respects, keeping in mind that Jews are at different places in their journey. At the same time, the Karaite movement must be careful not to “lose” committed Jews who believe that the historical Karaites (many of whom are now following the Rabbanite calendar) are not Karaite enough when it comes to the calendar issue. And these committed Jews should encourage (in a positive manner) all Karaites to return to the proper observations – and should be patient during that process. If we can all do that, the calendar may be actually be a source of education, dialog, and perhaps even strength.
So, whenever you celebrated your holidays this month, Mo’adim Le’Simcha!
* * *
 The calculated Karaite Calendar is much more accurate (but not perfect) when it comes to predicting new moon visibility. I note that many (if not the majority) of the historical Karaites believe that the moon is a local “sign” similar to the sun; just as one observes Shabbat based on the local sunset, the argument goes, one should set the months based on the visibility of the new moon locally – as opposed to the moon that is sighted in the Land of Israel. This might make a good blog topic.
 See The Pseudo-Qumisian Sermon to the Karaites, AAJR, Vol. 43 (1976), pp. 49-105, pp. 78-79.
 See also Calendar and Community: A History of the Jewish Calendar from 2nd Century BCE – 10th Century CE, p. 264-65.
 Dr. Zvi Ankori, Karaites in Byzantium, p. 297 (emphases in Ankori).
 Dr. Marina Rustow, Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatamid Caliphate, p. 19.
50 Responses to Will the Calendar Kill the Karaites (Again)?
Shaun On the subject of sighting the new moon…what should you do if the cloudy skys dont permit a person to see the new moon…and it goes on for days on end…what would you doe then.
Most people use modern calculations to determine when the moon would have been seen without the clouds.
Also, a lunar month can never be longer than 29 1/2 days, so some people cap the month at 29 days – in the event the moon was not physically sighted before then.
Shaun, The sighting of the new moon in Yisrael is well documented now, and is easy to follow. This is our Halacha. Rabbinites have another. So what! I wish things were different, but we must not find things to seperate us, but to unite us.
Thank you for your note, but the point of the post was not mainly about a Karaite Rabbanite divide, but how the Karaites themselves are divided on this issue.
Simchah, I commend you for following the new moon observations! We need more like you!
I am a member of an unaffiliated Synagogue and personally follow the calendar according to New Moon sighting and Aviv. The Rabba here has always showed interest in the differences of observance and has never made me feel left out or unwelcome. She has even written about Karaite Judaism on the subject of Karaite/Rabbanite marriage in the book “Marriage and Its Obstacles in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa”.
Hagh Same’aH, Matityahu
Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
A very good blog that points out the problem of the calendar dates in the community.
The Calculated Karaite Calendar uses the longitudinal potential visibility. This means if the new moon could be sighted in the southern hemisphere not not in Israel it is counted and is seen as a middle ground between the rabbinical calculated calendar and the Sighted New Moon calendar. Even the sighted calendar uses potential visibility but it must be sightable in Israel.
The main reason for using the rabbinical calendar I have been told is convenience that we not be different from the rabbinate. I could be mistaken but that is what I have heard.
It would be great to be on 1 system.
Hi Yohanan, I am actually surprised to hear that this is the method of calculation. I understood that the calculated Karaite calendar was based purely on local sighting. I hope to interview some of the Karaites who do the calendar.
When I was employed I had to supply my employer every December with a list of my required religious days off for the coming year. So I consulted astronomical tables to calculate when the new moons would be 24 hours old by sunset in my locality.
If we went with local sighting (or calculated sighting) of the moon, the result would be a “rolling” observance, from time zone to time zone, and frequently NOT starting in GMT+3 (land of Israel). This is because the farther west you are, the earlier the night the moon can be sighted. The observances would roll from west to east. I find that concept elegant, and it gives a whole new perspective on what our Creator sees.
I agree. I go by local sighting myself as much as possible. If I don’t see it I observe it anyway along with those in the U.S. who site it. My husband and I realized the concept you’re speaking of in the last paragraph. This keeps festivals going basically year round somewhere in the world. Also, we felt that if we keep the holy days by Israeli time we would need to keep Shabbat by Israeli time also.
Correction: When I say LOCAL sighting I really mean what calculates by astronomical tables for my locality, only because I also have to turn in dates to my employer before each new year. Also, still studying the equinox issue. I tend to begin the year with the new moon after spring begins, as this ensures the Feast of Booths starts after the crops are gathered instead of before. Scripture says crops must be gathered and brought to the feast. When we started the year with the new moon before the spring equinox sometimes we would see the harvest first being reaped on our way home from the Feast of Tabernacles.
First of all, kudos to you for yet another remarkable post! You have a way of approaching controversial topics that is both gentle and unbiased.
I myself like the “old school” approach of sighting the moon. Whether it’s waiting for the moon to show up in Israel (which is what I do) or sighting it locally.
However, I sometimes wonder what the advantage would be of using a pre-calculated calendar that is different from Hillel II. It doesn’t seem to be the peshat, since the Torah speaks of visible signs, and at the same time it’s not in line with the rest of the people. I fail to see the point of that. Which, of course, doesn’t mean that I do not respect those who do go by that approach.
Well the Hillel II Calendar (if it the Calendar is indeed that of Hillel II), is less accurate than current calendar calculations are. For example, this month the Hillel II calendar was off by three days and the current Karaite Calculated calendar was only off by 1 day (and there was at least one – potentially UNreliable- possible sighting of the new moon in accordance with the predicted Karaite date).
My view on this is that aside from Yom Teruah (which is a holiday that falls on the first of the month), there really is no need to predict when the new moon might be. If the new moon shows up, we have plenty of time to prepare for Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hagh HaMatzot. The only real issue for people who want to follow the new moon is Yom Teruah.
If we’re going to do what the Torah says despite it making us look weird, I still see no reason why we would want to follow any calendar that is off. One day off is still off. But, like I said, I respect different views on the subject.
I would, however, like to contest one conclusion. It’s NOT harder for us on Yom Teruah than to the rest of the Jewish diaspora. Those on Hillel 2 follow “Rosh haShana” for two consecutive days, exactly because of the problem of those in the galut not knowing the exact date it would fall on.
If we need to negotiate a time off at our jobs, we can ask for two days, just like a Rabbanite would. We prepare ourselves for the 6th month having either 29 or 30 days.
Then when the time comes, we can either tell our bosses we no longer require to take one of such days off, or we can take the opportunity to do other things, such as going to the mall or catching up on the lastest post @ abluethread.com
Still easier than being a Rabbanite, since they have no other choice but to keep two days for every single moed except for Yom haKipurim. So… ding, ding, ding! Karaites win this round, even if they are moon-sighters! 🙂
The rabbanite calendar has its own problems. Fo example, independently of the new moon, the rabbanite Rosh Hashana cannot fall on Sunday, Wednesday, or Saturday. A similar rule applies to Pesah. But, as others have pointed out, it is a sign of our disunity that there is no agreement on holiday dates.
But I don’t think that different calendars threatens the future of Karaism. For me, the real problem is that a very significant number of Jews no longer regard the Talmud as “Torah miSinai” and seek a more rational and more Torah-based approach to Judaism. Karaism certainly can offer both. But with only one Karaite synagogue in the U.S., there is no opportunity to discover and/or practice Karaism here. What I think is more important than the calendar is the establishment of Karaite havurot (led by KFBs, i.e. Karaites from birth) in our major cities. The need is to show other Jews that there is another, and, in my opinion, better path to Judaism.
Howard, you are certainly correct. Karaites need to do better Kiruv and better outreach. And you are also right it needs to start with KFBs (and also very educated persons who adopted Karaite Judaism).
Sean, I think that Karaites have a tremendous kiruv opportunity with all the rabbinite Jewish men who have married non-Jewish women. If the rabbinite Jewish man’s father was/ is also Jewish, then I believe that rabbinite Jewish man would be also Jewish per the Karaite definition? As you know most rabbinite Jewish men who marry non-Jewish women are usually conflicted. Some of them don’t want to push their wives to convert to Judaism, some have old “issues” with Judaism. However their kids will be Jewish by Karaite definition. So, maybe that will ease their return to Judaism, knowing their kids won’t have to go through the whole conversion thing. What do you think? Regards, Dave.
Hi Dave, thank you for the note. You are correct that Karaites and Rabbanites differed on issues of descent, with Karaites holding by patrilineal descent and Rabbanites holding by matrilineal descent. Despite this difference, though, both movements agree that marrying other Jews (or at the very lease people committed to having a Jewish household) is important – even if only because it makes having a Jewish household easier.
BTW, I recently spoke to a young (21 years old) Karaite Hazan in Israel and asked how he would approach teaching non-Jews and interfaith couples. He said (and I am only slightly paraphrasing), “If a non-Jew is actually following the commandments, she is on a higher plane than a Jew who is not following the commandments” and then the Hazan made reference to Isaiah 56:6-7, which indicates that the Temple is to be a house of worship for all mankind.
I pray that all synagogues and Jewish institutions are warm and welcoming to all couples seeking a meaningful Jewish experience.
In the late 1980’s I was at the forefront in Israel of the campaign to adjust the calendar according to the sighting of the crescent new moon. After several years of presenting the data and facts we were successful and the calendar according to the sighting of the crescent new moon was accepted. Our next step was for them to accept the Aviv. About ten years ago the decision to go according to the sighting of the crescent new moon was reversed, this was due to various powerful secular elements within the community in Israel who were not too comfortable with their Karaite Judaism but still wanted to remain within the community. A compromise was hit upon where by the potential sighting of the crescent new moon did not have to be over the skies of Israel but anywhere that was along the latitude of Israel, so if the crescent new moon would be sighted – let’s say – in Madagascar but not in Israel then the new moon would be declared.
There are Karaites in Israel that still go according to the sighting of the crescent new moon as visible over the skies of Israel; this has become a point of contention within the community. There are those that endorse the calendar as put out by the Mo’eseth Hakhamim, even though in theory they do recognize that the crescent new moon must be sighted from Israel, for them unity of the majority of the community is the main principle. If the majority – or a very large minority – revert back to the sighting of the crescent new moon in Israel then this will become the calendar ipso facto. In truth movements of change are channelled from the foundations to the top – a house is built from the foundations to the roof not visa versa; change the hearts of the people and then true change will come about. Our battle is to instil the new heart, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put inside you; and I will take the stony heart from their flesh, and I will give them a heart of flesh. In order that they may walk in My laws, and My judgements they shall keep and do them; and they shall be to Me for a people, and I will be for them for a God.” (Ezek. 11:19-20)
Before I left Yisrael in late, 1993 we were unsure how we would be able to observe the Crescent New Moon in England. Back then there was only a very few of us who actually went out and looked for the first sighting of the Crescent new Moon. There was no one who would be able to contact me form Yisrael and inform me about the sighting of the Crescent New Moon, Nehemia and Devora Gordon had only just arrived in Yisrael a few months before.
I knew from historical records that the Karaites of Egypt in the 10th Century were able to receive New Moon reports from Eres Yisrael. During this period, communication between Eres Yisrael and Egypt was not a problem as both countries were ruled by the Isma’ili (Sevener Shi’i) Fatimids from Cairo, who incidentally intended to be pro-Karaite. The Karaites of the Byzantine Empire a century or so later on the other hand did not have a reliable line of communication with Eres Yisrael due to Pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean and the International Politics of the time. I decided to put myself in the position of a Karaite living in the Byzantine Empire in the 12th Century. Because it was almost impossible for the Karaites of the Byzantine Empire during this period to receive reliable information about the first sighting of the Crescent New Moon they went according to local observation. This they did this out of necessity rather than choice, and in fact, various Karaite communities on Byzantine soil would celebrate the Haggim a day apart from each other due to local observation.
I discussed this matter with Hakham Mordecai Al-fandari (PBUH) and he agreed with me that under such circumstances there was nothing else that I could do. Therefore, when we arrived in England we went according to local sighting and this continued for a while. Back in Yisrael; Nehemia and Devora Gordon had already settled in and it was not to long before they joined the ranks of those who actually went out and looked for the first sighting of the Crescent New Moon. This meant that I was now able to receive reliable information about moon sightings, and Nehemia would phone me up and inform me what the situation was concerning such sightings, especially for the Moon of the First Month and the Seventh Moon. I was thus able to revert to the sighting of the moon after its conjunction according to the sighting in Yisrael.
The reasons why I reverted to the Crescent New Moon according to the sighting in Yisrael and did not continue according to local sighting were;
1) I now had a reliable line of communication that enabled me to do so, and
2) The Biblical Calendar is centred on the Temple, and is therefore Eres Yisrael orientated, the ‘Omer could only be brought to the Temple in Yerushalam. The nature of three major Feasts is that they are Pilgrimage-Festivals centred in Yerushalam, the place where YHWH chose to place His name. The Pilgrimage-Festivals are feasts each with its own special sacrifice that was brought to the Temple “in their appointed time” (Lev 23:4). This means that the “appointed time” of the Pilgrimage-Festivals is the time when the sacrifices were brought. In other words, Eres Yisrael is the religious and national centre of the Children of Yisrael. The fact that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are inverted as compared to the seasons in the northern hemisphere has no bearing, for the Pilgrimage-Festivals are dependant upon the seasons in Yisrael. Yisrael is the Holy Land; hence, the calendar is set according to the sighting of the Crescent New Moon in Yisrael. Shabbath is a different matter. Shabbath is not dependant upon the seasons in Eres Yisrael nor is it dependant upon the sighting of the Crescent New Moon in the Eres Yisrael; the Shabbath is dependant upon night and day, upon the rotation of our planet upon its axis.
I’m wondering why you mentioned the ‘Omer. Alone among the observances commanded in Lv 23, the wave-offering of the Sheaf is not related to the moon. It must be on the day after Shabbath, that’s all.
The wave sheaf is supposed to come from the land of Israel.
I have some questions about your post.
1) You mentioned that the moetzet hakhamim will go according to the new moon “anywhere that was along the latitude of Israel”. The way this was explained to me was that if the moon is spotted outside Israel before the sun sets in Israel and the new day begins, then it will also be theoretically visible (even if its cloudy and nobody sees it) in israel at the same time. This means seeing the moon east of Israel is testimony enough to start the month on the upcoming day. Is this method not accurate at determining the theoretical visibility of the new moon in Israel? I am unsure.
2) I don’t think your argument for setting the month according to the Israeli moon holds. Even according to the opinion that the proper month is set differently in different communities according to the local moon and not globally according to the Israeli moon, the priests would still be sacrificing “in their appointed times” so long as they were following the appearance of the moon in their locality (Israel) and not elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that people elsewhere (say the US) shouldn’t follow their local moon just as they follow their local sunset.
By the way, the month is also set according to the sunset because it must start when the day begins. Should the people in the exile also start the month according to the Israeli sunset?
Tomer, I will let Meir respond on his own behalf, but the main problem that “local” moon observers have to overcome is what to do about the sacrifices and Haggim. For example, do you envision Jews showing up at the Temple for sacrifices over a course of a few days? Or simply using the days as they are in Jerusalem? (Of course, this is academic until there is a Temple.)
Within Israel the month should be the same day because Israel is a small country.
People living in locations far enough outside Israel such that they would be keeping a different month would be travelling to Israel for the chag. Once in Israel, they would be bound by the Israeli calendar. This is no different then when we travel today and shift our clocks to the local time.
It is true that before modern communications, the people living outside Israel might not know exactly what day they should be in Israel for the chag. This is true, but I think that the difference in new moon sighting between localities can be at most a day so it would not practically effect travel plans especially given that travel could easily vary by more than a day back then.
Without a specified location, Calendar unanimity is actually not guaranteed within Israel. Even within the state of Israel there are times when the moon might be visible in the south but not the north. (This is how it was explained to me by the Orthodox Jews involved in the Israeli New Moon Society.) But more importantly, you likely have to consider the Land of Israel – not just the State of Israel. The Land of Israel is huge and you will have variations.
Also, here is an interesting site that will show you when the next new moon will be visible throughout the world. http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/moonwatch/nextnewmoon.htm
Oh. That is interesting. To be fair I don’t know much about how the moon actually moves. What does it mean exactly for the moon to be visible btw? I never really understood that. the moon is always there, and I assume that depending on weather conditions (not just clouds no clouds, but even fog or dust) it may or may not be visible.
I suppose that even given the variation within Israel, the sacrifices should go according to the temple moon.
What I mean is more what does it mean exactly for people to be able to calculate the moons visibility in advanced?
As a general matter, they take data regarding the location of the moon relative to the sun and the earth and they determine whether the human eye can see such a moon unassisted. In many cases,they compare those data to actual observations by people. So
So, there are actually some instances where the data says the moon will be right on the line of potential human visibility. In those cases actual observation is most important.
Potential visibility does not adjust for weather; that is, the moon will still be listed as potentially visible even if it is cloudy.
” This past month, Karaites throughout the world observed their holidays according to any of three systems: 1) the Calculated Rabbinic Calendar; 2) the Calculated Karaite Calendar; and 3) the Sighting of the New Moon. ” Though this is true, it should not be understand that the Karaites have THREE calendars. There is one official Karaite calendar edited and approved by the Religious Coucil. In general, the calculated Karaite calendar gives rather reliable dates of the crescent new moon and hence the appointed holidays to be celebrated. However, certain Karaites in Israel, as well as in the diaspora, are inclined for personal reasons, or for conveniency, to follow the Rabbanite calendar of the main Jewish stream. As the proverb says “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” – likewise, to celebrate the holidays, they opted for the Rabbanite calendar, just for celebrating the feast together on the same day (though not necessarily during 2 days in the diaspora). This being, despite they know or ignore the fact that such calendar follows certain innovated rules introduced since in the 9th century C.E. ; such as : Rosh Hashana can never fall on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday , and hence, Kippur can never fall on Tuesday, Friday or Sunday. Other rules have been also introduced for Passover, and hence for Shavuot. To do so, in the rabbanite calendars they shift the date of days. So, sometimes it happens to have a difference of one or two days in observing the feasts. Moreover, for the present Hebrew year 5774, the Rabbanites will start reading Bereshit on Saturday 28 September (since Simhat Torah falls on Friday 27. The karaites will start reading Berechit on Saturday 5 October, since simhat Torah falls on Saturday 28 September.
Some Karaites do not rely on the calculated Karaite calendar. Their trust is focused on the effective sighting of the crescent new moon. Regarding Yom Teru’a (Rosh Hashana), and consequently the holidays that follow, this implies waiting till the latest time in order to know if the sighting has been testified in order to celebrate Yom Teru’a. Though this presents no particular inconveniency by the time of the Tanakh, or ancient times, or some individuals in modern time, I do not think this can be adopted to be applicable to the whole nation in a modern society.
Simchat Torah? This occasion is not mentioned in TNK!
Rosh Hashana also is not mentioned in the Tanakh. This occasion is named Yom teru’a. When one reads “Rosh Hashan” it is understood Yom Teru’a. As regards Simhat Torah, the Karaite calendar edited by the Religious Council in Israel for 5774, the moed Shemini Atseret (שמיני עצרת) is named in the list of feasts in English : Simhat Torah. (Also is named in English in the same list : Rosh Hashana, for the Hebrew Yom Teru’a). Besides, by Simhat Torah is understood the holiday following the next day of the last day of Sukkot. For the Karaites, it is called Shemini Atseret, but for the Rabbantes in the diaspora it corresponds to the 8th day of Sukkot, then the following day is Simhat Torah.
I’ve seen Rabbanite calendars that listed both Simchat Torah and Shemini ‘Atzereth on different days. One is not just a translation of the other. Actually the whole system of parsha readings – ending and beginning on Simchat Torah – is a bit of an invention isn’t it? Even if it may be a useful invention.
Hi Eleanor, there is nothing inherently with inventions. The issue is when we claim our inventions are from God. Or when we practice inventions instead of actual commandments.
The torah portion example is interesting because we are commended to publicly read the Torah every seven years on Shemini Atzeret. (I don’t know a singly Jewish congregation that does this. I may just not be aware, though.)
Todah Raba– Moedim L’Simcha!
For us, this year, it’s by the lunar sighting, so last week & Sunday were Sukkot. …AND we’re still sleeping out: figured out that the “proud” “house of cedar” wasn’t so fancy as it looked, and needed some attention. Point being, honoring and “shamar” / guarding the Teaching and Instruction look different for us every year. We do the best we can with what we’re given. The point is to guard it. The more we “walk in it” and don’t turn to the right or the left, the clearer the Way will become. Encourage anyone walking the Ancient Paths.
What about the sabbath year when nothing is planted? I suppose there still would be a barley harvest, but its not actually harvested.
To me, to be perfect in calculating the calendar seems rather pointless when the activities that revolve around the calendar really revolve around the sacrifices which aren’t done anymore. No sacrifices = accuracy of calendar not important. So the rabbanite calendar may be completely wrong, but without a tabernacle and functioning priesthood, does it really matter? Only the moral commandments can really be kept correctly.
I am not sure I agree. We can fast on Yom Kippur or refrain from eating bread on Hag HaMatzot – even if other aspects of the holiday are impossible without a temple. And we should aim to observe what we can on the proper days. Just my view though
I think it’s important to read the sacrifice passages on the appropriate occasions – and be aware of what would have been happening at the Temple.
I think your book pretty well answers my question actually now that I’ve read it.
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I’ve been studying this calendar thing and have happened upon a third calendar theory. This one says that Aviv starts the first new moon after the vernal equinox (and is supposedly either the Sadducean or Samaritan theory). The rabbanite calendar for this year doesn’t correspond to this as the equinox occurs on March 20th which was already the 9th of Aviv in their calendar. I’m wondering how well the Karaite date this year based on the observation of the barley harvest would have correlated with the dates that would be arrived at by this theory. The calendar at Karaite corner seriously needs to be improved. I mean it doesn’t even list the month names. Even so, I can tell it doesn’t match up with this theory either.
The original Jewish/Biblical Calendar has no month names. They are all seventh month, eighth month etc. only in later biblical times did the Jews gives names to their months and those names were from the exile. One possible exception is the name Rosh Chodesh Aviv, which is also the first month.
The Karaite/biblical calendar does not take into account the equinox
I should say it is independent of and not affected by the equinox.
Here is the real issue. The Bible truly only supports an observed calendar, not a calculated version. But most everyone today uses a universal calculated calendar in the secular world and that type of thinking has been engrained into our way of thinking – especially in this digital age (we no longer think analogously).
The truth is, the more people you have participating in an observed calendar in more places, the more accurate it becomes (and the more comfortable people would be with such a system). So now you have people that rely on man-made mathematical tables and have turned their backs on the Biblical method.
I think this is a big part of it. No one is thinking about the calendar or the natural order of things.
But a calculated calendar is based on past observation that has established the rules for calculation, like the moon doing its phases in 29.5 days. So, even the calculated is observed in a sense. In fact, the notion that people went up on a hill to look for the new moon, versus just having calculated based on this number which was known even in ancient times already by observation, sounds like a silly Talmudic fable. Its just not believable that anyone would have used such an inefficient method, except maybe the first few patriarch, from Adam probably not even all the way up to Noah.
“You must not follow the majority in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the majority to twist justice.
I think the new moon is local as is written,
Deuteronomy 4:19 – And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.