I love this book. It is a perfect overview and amazing introduction to Karaite Judaism. Even I – who has been studying Karaite Judaism formally for 20+ years (and informally my entire life) – learned a tremendous amount from this book. After the jump, you can watch my video review of the book, and you can also vote on which book I do a video review of next. I’ll also describe more parts of the book that I absolutely love – and one part that I absolutely disagree with.
Category Archives: Dr. Rustow
This past Sunday, the Jewish community of the San Francisco Bay Area said good-bye to one of its most cherished members. Joseph A. Wahed, a Karaite Jew born in Egypt and active member of the Karaite Jews of America, was laid to rest.
As was repeated throughout the funeral, Wahed avoided intra-Jewish polemics and diatribes, and made no distinction in the level of respect he showed Jews of all movements and denominations (Rabbanites, Karaites, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform). Wahed’s attitudes toward his Jewish brethren echoed a letter written by a Rabbanite about 1000 years ago.
The new moon was sighted in Israel on May 11, 2013 – two days after the calculated Rabbinical calendar sets rosh chodesh (i.e., the start of the new month). As a result, most observant Karaites celebrated rosh chodesh on a different day from observant Rabbanites.
1100 years ago, though, (at least some) Palestinian Rabbanites set their calendar by the actual sighting of the new moon – and even observed “Rosh Hashanah” on a different day from the Babylonian Rabbanites.
Whenever heated Karaite-Rabbanite polemics pop up these days, my initial reaction is to roll my eyes and sigh,”It’s not the Middle Ages anymore.”
Although such diatribes were once commonplace – and A Blue Thread has discussed some of them – I really try not to get lost in the rhetoric of yesteryear.
In that regard, I love finding information that turns these historical notions of strife upside-down.