Category Archives: Karaite Fact Cards

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz has a Fundamental Problem

I know. I know. You’re worried, “Here we go again. This is gonna be another variation of the Thinker post. And Shawn is going to make his name taking down those who speak ill of Karaites.” Don’t worry – it’s not and I won’t.

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Filed under Abib, ibn Ezra, Israel Maghribi, Karaite Fact Cards, Mikveh, Milk and Meat, New Moon, Royal Attire, Shabbat Candles, Tefillin, Yisrael HaMa'aravi

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

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

Karaite Fact Card 12: The Shawarma Boycott

Fact Card 12 Shawarma Front

At the encouragement of some friends, I turned some of my most popular posts into fact cards. Here is Karaite Fact Card 12 – regarding the fact that most traditional Shawarma is not kosher according to biblical standards.

Check it out here. I’ll find a way to give away these fact cards to readers in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!




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Filed under Karaite Fact Cards, Kashrut

New Moon, Full Moon, Karaite Moon, Local Moon (?!?)

Crescent new moon in the Land of Israel.

Crescent new moon in the Land of Israel.

We hear a lot these days of “identity politics.” Today, I explore “identity halacha” and realize that my religious Karaite identity is slowly getting turned on its head. And I’m fine with that.

For approximately 15 years, I have been a zealous advocate of using the moon in the Land of Israel to determine when to observe our holidays in the Diaspora. I set this forth in a book. I stated this in a Karaite Fact Card. And I couldn’t count how many times I stated this at the Karaite synagogue.

But over the last year, I’ve come to realize that I might have been wrong.

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Filed under Calendar, Daniel al-Kumisi, Karaite Fact Cards, Moshe Firrouz, New Moon

Limited Time Only: Get Karaite Fact Cards FREE!

A Blue Thread has surpassed my wildest expectations.

As a way of showing my appreciation, I’m giving away 100 sets of all eight Karaite fact cards printed to date. Absolutely free.

This offer is only good between now and midnight on April 30, 2013 – but you have to be within the first 100 people to request a set. (One set per person/household.)

If you want a set, email your mailing address to

Here are some of the images and corresponding text for your enjoyment.

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Filed under Karaite Fact Cards, Promotions

Karaite Matzah Photo Contest Winner & Vote for the Runner-Up

Baking Matzah

Baking Matzah

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Matzah Photo Contest.  It was a lot of fun for me to review the submissions.

And based on the number of photos I’ve received, it seems like other such contests might be in the future. Now that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is behind us, it’s time to announce this year’s photo contest winner and let you vote on the runner-up.

So without further ado, the winner is . . .

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Filed under Holidays, Karaite Fact Cards, Passover, Photo Contests