Category Archives: Purim

Purim 2019: Nailed it!

“There was light and joy . . . ” Happy Purim, Everyone

That’s a wrap on Purim 2019. Yes, I said that right. Purim is over. I’m not talking about Purim Katan. I’m talking about the real deal – the actual holiday of Purim. Purim of Adar I. The only Purim that I have ever really been into. And the Karaite Jews of America had quite an extravaganza.

So much so that maybe next year we will plan a shabbaton around it.

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Filed under Nir Nissim, Priel Nissim, Purim

Are the Historical Karaite Jewish Objections to Hanukkah Still Relevant Today?

Farag Menashe (still living in Cairo at the time) with the Cairo Codex.

Farag Menashe (still living in Cairo at the time) with the Cairo Codex.

In 1979, Hadassah Magazine visited the last remaining Karaite Jews of Cairo, Egypt. The magazine provides this tidbit regarding the shochet of the community, Farag Murad Yehuda Menashe:

[H]e will read a Haggada based on biblical texts, free of all Talmudic references. He will have no seder plate, no four questions, and no four cups of wine. His Shavuot will always fall on Sunday, and instead of fasting on the Ninth of Av, he will fast on the seventh and tenth. He has never heard the shofar blown, never put on tefillin, and never affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of his home, and never lit a hanukkiya. (Indeed, Hanukkah is totally absent from his calendar.)[1]

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Filed under Aharon ben Eliyahu, Hanukkah, Jacob ben Reuben, Mikdash Me'at, Purim

That time the Karaites Cancelled Purim: My Article at

Wedan Haman, a Karaite take on "Oznei Haman." Check out my article for more details.

Wedan Haman, a Karaite take on “Oznei Haman.” Check out my article for more details.

About a thousand years ago, the Karaites cancelled Purim. They just skipped it altogether and with the waving of a hand they jumped a month into the future to celebrate Passover. Sounds crazy. But it’s true.  You can read about this and more in my article Comparing Purims, in which I identify some interesting similarities and differences between the Rabbinic and Karaite conceptions of Purim.

Below, you can check out some more Purim shenanigans that I did *not* put into the article.

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Filed under Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Purim

Why Rabbi Rosen at the algemeiner is (Mostly) Wrong about Karaite, Persian and Reform Jews

AlgemeinerEvery 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.

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Filed under Aleppo Codex, Cairo Codex, Eli Shmuel, Judah Hadassi, Kashrut, Patrilineal Descent, Purim, Shechita, What is Karaite Judaism

The Best (and only) Purim Party in Town

See why Purim is the Festival of Lights.

Prepping for Purim, the Festival of Lights.

I won $10 yesterday at the Karaite Jews of America’s Purim party. My dad said that he thought it was one of the congregation’s biggest turnouts in years.

I think that God was rewarding me and the KJA for celebrating Purim at the appropriate time, in the 12th month. My dad laughs when I say things like this.

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Filed under Holidays, Karaite Jews of America, Purim

Purim: The Festival of Lights

Karaites celebrating Purim in March 1987Source: Mourad El-Kodsi, Karaite Jews of Egypt (p. 307)

Karaites celebrating Purim in March 1987
Source: Mourad El-Kodsi, Karaite Jews of Egypt (p. 307)

Last week, I received an invitation to the Karaite Jews of America’s annual Purim Party. Karaites, at least those of Egyptian descent, have some unique Purim customs.

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Filed under Books, Holidays, Purim