133 reputation
6
bio website ABlueThread.com
location San Francisco, CA
age 35
visits member for 1 year, 7 months
seen Feb 7 at 6:22

I am a Karaite Jew, born to an Egyptian Karaite Jewish family. I have been very involved in Jewish education - having taught Hebrew school at a conservative Rabbanite Synagogue in San Diego; Jewish Communal issues - having served on the board of the directors of BBYO, Inc.; and Karaite Judaism - having founded the Karaite Jewish University and co-authored a book on Karaite Judaism (As it is Written).

I have also spoken to several audiences (including the Library of Congress and the Association of Jewish Libraries) about Karaite Judaism.

I'm actually here just to learn more about Rabbanite Judaism and offer insights from a Karaite Jew where it seems fitting.


May
13
comment What if somebody says the Shem Hameforash?
Just two weeks ago an Orthodox Rabbi argued that "God" had become a loaded term - because no one knows what the other person is intending to convey by it. There was a custom of some Karaites of 1000 years ago to actually pronounce the name. wp.me/p2MerI-lk
Mar
29
comment Why do we call the Festival of Matzos “Passover”?
Great question (esp.re pre Temple era). The standard translation of the Elephantine Letter seems to suggest that in 419 BCE, basically the time of Nehemiah, people spoke about them distinctly. kchanson.com/ancdocs/westsem/passover.html When I'm speaking about exegesis, I always use "Pesach" to refer to the "Passover Sacrifice." When I am speaking colloquially, I am less concerned about the difference. But I recently did a blog post on "Passover" and felt compelled to drop a footnote explaining the difference. wp.me/p2MerI-ij
Mar
25
comment Selling to a gentile on Yom Tov — Same by a Jew?
Is this to imply that it is okay to sell on Shabbat (or any day marked a sabbath) as long as the actual payment is done after Shabbat? Just trying to understand the context. Thank you.
Mar
25
comment Selling to a gentile on Yom Tov — Same by a Jew?
This is a fascinating question.
Mar
19
comment What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?
@monicaCellio, the author of the aforementioned Jerusalem Post Article seems to be an expert about women in Spain. You can check out her works here. schechter.edu/staffmember.aspx?id=23&sm=1a&dept=sijs
Mar
18
comment What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?
@MonicaCellio The Jerusalem Post ran an interesting article about some Karaite women from Toledo who settled in Ramle and excommunicated a couple who had recently adopted Karaite Judaism. The article has some cultural references of interest to your question. I comment on the article at my blog: wp.me/p2MerI-ht and the article can be read here. jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/…
Mar
5
comment Have poskim written about partnership minyanim?
When I attend rabbinic services, I generally attend either chabad or a partnership minyan in SF. As someone who doesn't have stake in this, I find the concept of a partnership minyan fascinating.
Feb
28
comment Is Halal Meat Kosher?
@yoel, I don't know of any historical karaites (i.e., karaites from historically Karaite communities) who currently eat Halal meat under the belief that it is permissible for Jews to eat it. But a thorough answer here would require much more research - and it is complicated by the fact that the historical Karaites of europe de-judaized.
Feb
28
comment Is Halal Meat Kosher?
My understanding is that Allah is a contraction of Al-illah (the God). And I agree that it is not kosher, in the manner that most people currently define the word "kosher." I note that some Karaites of medieval times believed it was permissible to eat Halal meat. (I am still hoping to find an historic source for this, and I don't know how prevalent this view is in current times.)
Feb
6
comment Significance of the Kohen's hand gestures?
The letters of the Name are written on the wrist of the last image of the hands. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_blessing I have not been able to independently verify this, but a book I recently read quotes a Rabbinical source as saying "the priest would form the letters of the Tetragammaton with his hands." Citing Bahya ben asher, Biur Al Ha-Torah, volume 3, page 94. Priests are required to place the Name on the Children of Israel. The hand gesture seems to be how they did it after the Rabbinic ban on speaking the name was enacted.
Feb
6
comment Significance of the Kohen's hand gestures?
I was surprised to recently learn that the gesture was (at least according to some Rabbinic sources) intended to form the letters of the Name. Looking forward to seeing the answers.
Feb
6
comment When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?
Is this where I'm supposed to ask, "Who is a wise man?" I did not seek to set off a storm of comments. As I stated in my profile: "I'm actually here just to learn more about Rabbanite Judaism and offer insights from a Karaite Jew where it seems fitting." That's one reason I didn't offer a "Karaite" answer to the question. Despite my difference of opinion with Rabbanism, I have a tremendous respect for the faith and devotion of Rabbanites and I believe that Karaites have a lot to learn from Rabbanites. I've written about this many times at my blog.
Feb
6
comment When did the switch to matrilineal descent occur?
I won't provide a full answer, because I don't believe that we should be following matrilineal descent (see my post on it here: wp.me/p2MerI-4C) and I don't know exactly when the shift occurred. But some people argue that it happened (or at least started to happen) in biblical times. See Ezra 10:3. I would respond that that is a misunderstanding of the verse.
Feb
6
comment What puns are there in Tanach?
This reminds me of the almond/diligent play on words in Jeremiah 1:11/12.
Feb
5
comment Is age a disqualification for Shechita?
I'm doing research on this issue from a Karaite perspective. In a few weeks, I'll watch someone slaughter (not sacrifice) a lamb for the karaite Passover seder. Interestingly, "The oldest dated Hebrew manuscript at the Library is a thirteen-page Hilhot Shehita (Laws of Ritual Slaughtering)" written in 1397. jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/loc/Word.html I don't think that work contains an upper age limit but it does say the shochet "should be sharp-sighted, and not blind in any way." A neo-karaite would likely roll his eyes at all the requirements set forth in the document.
Feb
5
comment What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?
@MonicaCellio, Last night I took a very quick look through Sefer ha-Qabbalah (written last 12th Century Spain) and aside from the aforementioned Al-Mu'alllima nothing jumped out to me as relevant to your question.
Feb
4
comment What was daily life like for Jewish women living in al-Andalus in the 10th/11th centuries?
According to Sefer ha-Qabbalah, the Karaite community of 12th century Spain had a female leader whom they referred to as al-Mu'allima (Arabic for the teacher). Sefer ha-Qabbalah was written by Abraham ibn Daud, an ardent Rabbinite who sought to advance the view that Rabbanism is the only true form of Judaism and Karaism is heresy. I wrote about this at my blog below. wp.me/p2MerI-3p
Feb
4
comment Candles on Purim?
I note that Karaites have historically lit candles on Purim. wp.me/p2MerI-du
Feb
4
comment New Moon Based on Sighting Outside of the Land of Israel
@DoubleAA "I would have to do more research regarding the Ramban's general position on Diaspora-based declarations of the new moon." This is actually the answer I am interested in. Are there any other sources you suggest I look into? Thank you for your other thoughts.
Jan
31
comment New Moon Based on Sighting Outside of the Land of Israel
Thank you. I recently learned (much to my surprise) that some Karaite religious leaders in Israel (apparently) hold the view that nothing in the Peshat mandates that the new moon be the new moon sighted in Israel. According to this view, one could declare the new month based on the sighting in Egypt. (But I haven't spoken to them directly to test the limits of this view.) On one hand, we in the diaspora observe our Sabbath based on the local sunset. On the other hand, even Karaites in the Diaspora recognize that the Abib/Aviv must be found in the Land of Israel in order to begin the new year.