• Kobi Tour Guide of Israel

Karaites - The Jews You Have Never Heard Of Are Disappearing

Updated: Aug 20

One of the most fascinating community of Jews is called the Karaites. The community likely began in 8th c. Babylon after an older son was passed over for leadership as the leader of the community. Somewhat inspired by Islamic prayer practices (new at that time) and somewhat being anti-rabbinical establishment (after being passed over for the role), the Karaites disavowed the Oral Law - aka rabbinic Judaism - and vowed only to follow the Written Law - aka the Torah. This makes keeping kosher much easier for example - just don't boil a kid in its mother's milk - but Shabbat much harder (no electric timers, eruvs, etc.). They were always considered as part of the Jewish people by Rabbinic Jews, though often seen as heretical (though Maimonides says it was not their fault because "their parents taught them wrong") and at one point numbered at least 10% of the Jewish world if not higher. Non-Jews however did not always see them as Jews and as such they evaded persecution from both the Russian czars and the Nazis. Today, however, their numbers are dwindling rapidly to the point where within a generation, should nothing change, they might just end up a footnote in history. To learn more about them, check out this fascinating interview: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-is-the-ancient-karaite-jewish-community-about-to-disappear

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