Category Archives: Techellet

My Vision: A Response to the Karaite Jews of America’s Open Request

I have thoughts for what should happen here and beyond.

Over the past few weeks, the Karaite Jews of America asked members of the community at large to share their vision regarding the future of Karaite Judaism. I did not respond directly to the KJA, because I thought that a very courageous public request deserves a public response. So, here are my thoughts.

Continue reading


Filed under Karaite Jews of America, Shechita, Tallit, Techellet

A Renaissance of Tekhelet: A Non-Jewish Woman’s Journey

I have known Azriel Kowtek, online and in person, for some time now. She visited the Karaite Jews of America’s Shavuot extravaganza in 2015. She and her daughters recently came to visit the KJA for family Shabbat this past September.

Her greatest biblical passion is the original source of tekhelet, the color “blue” that the Israelites are commanded to attached to the corners of our garments. The interesting thing about Azriel, and she is very open about this, is that she is not Jewish. She runs a site called “The Ancients’ Blue” where she discusses her process for dyeing tekhelet and tying tzitziot (tassels). From a Karaite perspective, I am fascinated with her work because her product meets two of the historical Karaite Jewish viewpoints on tekhelet: (i) she is using a ritually pure source, and (ii) her tekhelet is (daytime) sky blue.

Today, I interview Azriel regarding her work and her passion.

Continue reading


Filed under Techellet

Women, Blue Fringes and the Further Need to Revive Early Karaite Literature

Look at those blue fringes

Look at those blue fringes! But why aren’t the women wearing them?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Azriel Kowtek shared her passion for blue fringes and tying tzitzit with several of us who attended the KJA’s shavuot gathering. Last week, I wrote about the importance of reviving Karaite literature. And this past Shabbat, Rabbanite Jews read the Torah portion related to the commandment to wear blue fringes. [1.]

In the Rabbinic tradition, women are not required to wear blue fringes. Let’s see what the early Karaite literature says on the topic.

Continue reading


Filed under Judah Hadassi, Mikdash Me'at, Tallit, Techellet, Yaqub al-Qirqisani

TribeFest and The Wisdom of Techellet

The Karaite Jews of America's Booth at JFNA's TribeFest.

The Karaite Jews of America’s Booth at JFNA’s TribeFest.

Eli Shmuel and I are here in New Orleans at the Jewish Federation of North America’s TribeFest 2014 – which is awesome so far. Over Shabbat, Eli and I were discussing whether we (Karaites, Rabbanites, others) know the true color of techellet

And the conversation led me to one of the most profound realizations of my young life.

Continue reading


Filed under Eli Shmuel, JFNA TribeFest, Moshe Firrouz, Techellet

Karaite Fact Card 3: Fringe Benefits

Perhaps I’ve taken for granted for too long that readers know why I chose “A Blue Thread” as the name for the blog. The name refers to the enduring Karaite Jewish practice of wearing blue fringes on the corners of our prayer shawls. Until recently, this practice was almost uniquely Karaite.

Check out the following fact card for more information.

Karaite Fact Card 3: Fringe Benefits (Front)Karaite Fact Card 3  Fringe Benefits

Continue reading


Filed under Karaite Fact Cards, Tallit, Techellet