A group of Karaites praying at a memorial service for a departed loved one.
Recently someone asked me to start posting about the modern Karaite Jewish experience again. You see, the Karaite Jewish experience was the crux of my blog in its early days. For many reasons, I’ve moved away from this – in favor of commenting on news, historical events, and highlighting where Karaite views are different from our Rabbanite brethren or have evolved over time.
But the modern Karaite Jewish struggle is real; and I am here to give a voice to that struggle. So here is a smattering of the things that people have said to my face in the past few months (and a proposed response, in case anyone says the same to you). I should note that most of the time, these comments are not made out of malice. But nonetheless, they sting.
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.
Well, if you haven’t seen it yet, here is the rest of that presentation. Some more interesting stuff in here and I hope you enjoy it.
On October 24, 2013, a group of 5-7th graders from a conservative synagogue visited Congregation B’nai Israel, the home of the Karaite Jews of America. This was my first presentation on Karaite Judaism in over a year. I was a bit rusty but it was good to get back in the saddle – even if my shirt collar was not behaving.
We recorded the presentation and it appears after the jump. Feel free to drop your comments below and let me know if there are things you’d want to see me incorporate into future presentations.
Jewish social media is now abuzz discussing the implications of the latest Pew Survey on Jewish Americans. The Pew survey, in part, gathered intel on whether Jews identify themselves as Orthodox, Conservative or Reform. But there used to be another way to answer this very simple question: “What kind of Jew are you?”
I guess I can’t exactly do an objective book review here, since I am a co-author of As it is Written: A Brief Case for Karaism. As I mentioned previously, I tend to follow the Israeli saying that roughly translates to, “A baker should not comment on his own work.”
So instead of my telling you how awesome As it is Written is, I’ll let this Amazon review do all the talking for me: “Not very well written, short, and does not go in depth into explaining Karaite Judaism. It is a short, basic review.”
My copy of Alan A. Winter’s Savior’s Day. Quite a read!
I love reading anything that raises the profile of Karaites, even when the work is fictional. So, I thought I’d offer some thoughts on Alan A. Winter’s Savior’s Day, a recently published novel that mentions Karaites quite prominently.
Savior’s Day is historical fiction about a series of murders tied to the lost pages of the Aleppo Codex. It is a tale that spans centuries and takes us through many of the Middle Ages’ greatest Jewish communities: Jerusalem, Tiberias, Fostat, and Aleppo.