My Birkat brings all the boys to the yard, I can teach and I won’t even charge. Or something like that. About a year ago, I was caught in what appeared at the time to be a mind-numbing debate over some minutiae regarding a single word in the Birkat Hamazon that appears in Karaite texts. It turns out the debate was not mind-numbing at all and a simple look through the Cairo Geniza would have solved the whole issue and explained a whole lot more.
Category Archives: Eli Shmuel
This past Sunday, I gave a talk on The Rise and Decline of the Karaite Movement to a group in Columbia, Maryland. Before that, I spent the weekend in Baltimore with an Orthodox Rabbi affiliated with Agudath Israel.
For those who do not know, Agudath Israel is about as Orthodox as it gets in the United States. Every conversation I had was filled with insight. I learned a lot more than religion; I saw first hand what Karaites must do to survive the next generation and beyond.
As we meandered through the streets of the Karakoy neighborhood of Istanbul, Avraham (among others on separate occasions) told me something rather intriguing: Karakoy was one of the areas of Istanbul where the Karaites used to live – and in fact some people believe that Karakoy takes its name from the historical Karaite Jewish community.
I found this rather hard to believe. Could it really be that there were once so many Karaites in Istanbul, that an entire neighborhood was named after them?
I feel like I owe A Blue Thread’s readers an explanation. The number of views for A Blue Thread continues to exceed my expectations, even though I am not posting as regularly as I used to – let alone, as often as I would like.
I just received an email from someone encouraged me to “keep blogging.” So, let me tell you what I’m working on when I’m not blogging. And I promise to blog more regularly, when things slow down. Continue reading
In 1979, Hadassah magazine published a story about the Karaite Jews of Cairo. Among the interesting tidbits in the piece was that the last remaining Karaites in Cairo had never celebrated Hanukkah. [1.]
Since Karaites historically did not celebrate Hanukkah, some might find it odd that I am offering a Hanukkah gift to the Jewish masses. This offer is not too good to be true.
Every 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.
Eli Shemuel is no longer in the U.S., but he keeps on trucking. Last night the Karaite Jews of America released another learning by Eli. This time, Eli is speaking about Karaite Jewish prayer customs.
I previously wrote a little about Karaite prayer customs here. Eli’s new video goes into more detail about removing our shoes, ritual purity, the structure of the Karaite prayer. Check out the beautiful music from the Karaite Jewish choir of Israel as well.