Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Real Good Samaritans



The Real Good Samaritans


Israeli Israelites without Jerusalem nor the Prophets

To follow the discussion on video go to


All familiar with story of Good Samaritan

A headline on  a local news feed this week:

Good Samaritans Help Rescue 14 From Sinking Ship In Newport Beach

The 41-foot boat began to sink, just outside Newport Harbor, officials say. As the harbor patrol arrived, helpers were already at the scene.

Besides a name for a hospital, few know what it refers to:

Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he travelled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine…(took him to an inn, paid the expenses) Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"He said, "He who showed mercy on him."Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."— Luke 10:30–37, World English Bible

Open to multiple interpretations-explanation of “Neighbor”. But Samaritan, for Jesus, was not a pagan or foreigner-he was a cousin to the Jews, as distinct from the pagan Canaanites ( swine before pearls, bread to dogs)..,_West_Bank_-_20060418.jpg

II.When I was a student, in Israel, I set out to find out who were these people-related to Jews, yet not Jews.


I had relatives in Holon, who I would visit  from time to time. One Shabbat, I decided to walk  across Holon to the Samaritan community. One half had lived there among Jews, had been absorbed as citizens of Israel, and were, essentially, Israelis.

This account from BBC,most%20ancient%20in%20the%20world( 2018)

Benyamim (Benny) Tsedaka, a scholar, historian and ambassador-at-large for the Israelite Samaritans. He explained that “There were two ancient kingdoms: Judea (Jews) from the south, and we were the tribes from the north. We eventually separated, but our origins are identical.” . . . They’re one of the world’s oldest and smallest religious groups and their songs are among the most ancient in the world.


The Samaritan center is in Samaria-Shomron- Hence- Shomronim-in Greek-Latin- Samaria-Samaritan. Shamerim-the watchers, in their own terminology.

How did they get to my relative’s town?

The Samaritans and Holon

On the turn of the 20th century, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi,( later, President) a Jewish immigrant from the Ukraine, rented a room in a Samaritan owned house in Jaffa. Developing a strong friendship with the landlord, he studied the Samaritan culture and history, and eventually became an expert in the field. Later, as the second president of state of Israel, he used his influence to allocate a plot in Holon for Samaritans who wished to live in Israel.( from

Entrance to the synagogue in Holon.

At another time, I went on a tour of the West Bank ( Judea/Samaria-Yehudah v Shomron) just a few years after the Six-Day war. We came to Nablus- which is derived from the Roman name : Neapolis( Naples, but without the pizza !). But it is the region of the capital city of ancient northern kingdom of Israel, Shechem. The Samaritan settlement there is called “Kiryat Luza”.

That is very significant. It is hinted at in many places in the Bible, and seems to be corroborated by archaeological remains, that Shechem was the first city settled by the ancient Israelites—before the Exodus. Story of the rape of Dinah and the revenge of Simon and Levi. It is also the site of two significant mountains- Har Eval and Har Gerizim- The mount of curses and the mount of blessings. There are archaeological remains of an ancient altar on the hillside.  

Link to image of altar

It here that the ancient center of the Samaritans lies.

Our group came to them on the holiest day of the year: Yom Kippur. But this was one month after our Yom Kippur- quite clearly, the Samaritans had their own calendar.

Everyone was fasting- including the little children- again, an indication that their halakha is not ours.

Also, I was intrigued to see how may of them looked very similar.

If Jews are cousins , Samaritans are kissing cousins. A very close knit community with a very small gene pool.


Video on Samaritans



The Holon and Nablus communities were separated in 1948, the Holon Samaritans becoming “ Israeli”, the Nablus Samaritans “ Palestinians”, but I believe that since 1967, the Nablus community has more closely identified with Israel proper.

A few year later, when I lived in Israel, I went to visit the home of  an active leader in the Holon community, probably the same Tzedakah who was mentioned in the above article. At the entrance to his house, there was an embroidered Shma ( rather than on parchment). In discussing the status of the woman in the house, he talked about the laws of “niddah”, ritual separation after menstruation. They follow the Biblical restriction of 7 days; Jewish practice is an additional 7 days. On the other hand, the separation is much more severe. The woman must live in separate quarters and can not touch anything , such as the kitchen dishes, as they become impure for the man. On the one hand, it sounds severe, but in practice, it is marked as a holiday for the woman—the man needs to cook and take care of the kids, while the women go off by themselves to picnic!




 III.So, who are these “Good Samaritans”.?

In 722, BCE, the northern kingdom, Israel, was finally destroyed by the Assyrians. The population was exiled ,and, in Assyrian style, scattered throughout the empire, which extended as far as todays’ Afghanistan and the borders of India. The Assyrian method was divide and scatter, preventing the conquered peoples from  ever becoming a 5th column in their midst. Ever since, we have been waiting for the “ Lost Tribes” to return. Lost for good by assimilation. The Assyrians repopulated the territory with people from other conquered territories, who later Jews would call” Kuti”( foreigners from Mesopotamia). Thus in Jewish records.

Many from the northern kingdom escaped to Judea, which lasted as an entity for another 150 years and they were absorbed into the Judean population; they brought with them much of the teachings of the north. Much of the Torah reflects language and style of the north. It is to be assumed, that a sizeable segment were not exiled, but remained. Biblical accounts claim that the new settlers were attacked by wild beasts, and out of fear, adopted the Israelite belief in God to protect them. That is the Jewish account.

The Samaritans claim that they are not descendants of the foreign invaders, but rather of the tribes of Ephraim, Menasseh, and Levi. It also appears that one of the priest of Jerusalem left and settled in the north to become the Cohen to the Samaritans at the Temple they now built


In 586 BCE, the people of Judea were conquered and exiled. Babylonian policy, to our benefit, was to resettle conquered peoples as a block, keep them intact, and thereby, become more productive for the Empire. The exiled Judeans apparently did very well. 50 years later, the Persian King Cyrus, declared that all exiled peoples could return to their lands, a move that proved very beneficial for all sides and kept the conquered nations loyal.

It is here that the split begins. Tensions arise between the Samaritans and the newly returned Judeans ( just as there had been tension before the destruction of the two communities. By the time of the major return and reconstruction under Ezra and Nehemiah, around 480-440 BCE, there are full blown conflicts and the split between the two communities widens. They go their separate ways both under the Seleucid Syrians and the Romans. While Jerusalem and the Temple had always been central to Judea, the Samaritans insist, till today, on the sanctity of Har Gerizim as the site of the original altar.

At one point, they were very numerous, as much as a million by the Byzantine period. However, persecution by the Byzantine emperors decimated the population and destroyed their Temple by the 6th century. While Jews were also heavily persecuted, they had already established themselves heavily through out the Roman and Persian worlds, and thus fared better in the long run. While Jews still numbered in the few millions over the centuries, the Samaritans dwindled to about 100 people at the start of the 20th century.  Even today , they number only about a total of 700!


IV.What do we know about their origins?

Modern DNA research tells us that we are amazing closer to each other than either is to the Palestinians ( who are a close 3rd to us) :

“ The mitochondrial DNA results, which show maternal history (i.e. your mother’s mother’s mother, etc.), reveal no major difference between the Samaritans, Jews, or Palestinians in the Levant who were also sampled. These three groups have relatively similar maternal genetic histories. However, the story of the Y-chromosome, which shows paternal history (i.e. your father’s father’s father) is quite different. Indeed, not only are the Y-chromosomes of the Jews and Samaritans more similar to each other than either is to the Palestinians’, the Y-chromosomes of the Samaritans show striking similarities to a very specific Y-chromosome most often associated with Jewish men. Although the Samaritan type is slightly different from the Jewish type, it is clear that the two share a common ancestor, probably within the last few thousand years.

As a result, Shen and colleagues argue that the traditional hypothesis, that the Samaritans were transported into the Levant by the Assyrians and have no Jewish heritage, is largely incorrect. Rather, these Samaritan lineages are remnants of those few Jews who did not go into exile when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 BC. Those who remained in the Levant may have take non-Jewish wives, which would account for the genetic admixture on the female side. But according to the authors the Y-chromosome clearly shows that the Samaritans and the Jews share common ancestry dating to at least 2,500 years ago.



V. Distinguishing  features of Samaritan Religion:

Their Bible- The 5 Books of Moses only. They have a version  of Joshua, but it is not considered a Holy text in the same sense. None of our prophets, nor Psalms, or Proverbs or the rest of the Bible.

Their text is very similar (mostly small scribal changes) except in regards to references to Gerizim:

Samaritan Pentateuch contains this text at Exodus 20:17:an amendment to the 10 Commandments:

And when it so happens that LORD God brings you to the land of Canaan, which you are coming to possess, . . . you write on the stones all words of this law. And it becomes for you that across the Jordan you shall raise these stones, which I command you today, in mountain Gerizim. And you build there the altar to the LORD God of you. .. . The mountain this is across the Jordan behind the way of the rising of the sun, in the land of Canaan who is dwelling in the desert before the Galgal(Gilgal), beside Alvin-Mara,( Alon-Moreh?) before Sechem (Shechem).[27]

There is a similar reference to Har Gerizim in their copy of Devarim.The current assumption is that much of the text may reflect a variant of the Torah as formulated in the north. If so, then we have a precedent for a common text before the destruction of Jerusalem and before the destruction of the northern kingdom.


Retention of the Biblical Hebrew script:


The Samaritan alphabet is close to the script that appears on many Ancient Hebrew coins and inscriptions.[8] By contrast, all other varieties of Hebrew, as written by Jews, employ the later 'square' Hebrew alphabet, which is in fact a variation of the Aramaic alphabet that Jews began using in the Babylonian captivity following the exile of the Kingdom of Judah in the 6th century BCE. During the 3rd century BCE, Jews began to use this stylized "square" form of the script used by the Achaemenid Empire for Imperial Aramaic, its chancellery script[9] while the Samaritans continued to use the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, which evolved into the Samaritan alphabet.( Wikipedia)







Shma as a mezuzah on the door- in stone:






Shma Yisrael as chanted by them:









Key principals:

The principal beliefs of Samaritanism are as follows:[13][14][15]

·         There is one GodYahweh, the same God recognized by the Hebrew prophets. Faith is in the unity of the Creator which is absolute unity. It is the cause of the causes, and it fills the entire world. His nature can not be understood by human beings, but according to his actions and according to his revelation to his people and the kindness he showed them.

·         The Torah is the only true holy book, and was given by God to Moses. The Torah was created before the creation of the world and whoever believes in it is assured a part in the World to Come. The status of the Torah in Samaritanism as the only holy book causes Samaritans to reject the Oral TorahTalmud, and all prophets and scriptures except for Joshua, whose book in the Samaritan community is significantly different from the Book of Joshua in the Tanakh/Old Testament. Essentially, the authority of all post-Torah sections of the Tanakh, and classical Jewish Rabbinical works (the Talmud, comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara) is rejected. Moses is considered to be the last of the line of prophets.

·         Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, is the one true sanctuary chosen by Israel's God. The Samaritans do not recognize the sanctity of Jerusalem and do not recognize Mount Moriah.

·         The apocalypse, called "the day of vengeance". At the end of days, in which a figure called the Taheb (essentially the Samaritan equivalent of the Jewish Messiah) from the tribe of Joseph, be it Ephraim or Manessah, who will be a prophet like Moses (though some say he will be Moses) for forty years, and bring about the return of all the Israelites, following which the dead will be resurrected. The Taheb will then discover the tent of Moses' Tabernacle on Mount Gerizim, and will be buried next to Joseph when he dies.

·          Also ( Jewish Encyclopedia) The resurrection, which will take place after the death of the Taheb, and will be accompanied by the final judgment, , when the righteous will go into the garden of Eden, and the wicked be burned with fire.







Festivals and observances[edit]

The Samaritans preserve the proto-Hebraic script, conserve the institution of a High Priesthood, and the practice of slaughtering and eating lambs on Passover eve. They celebrate PesachShavuotSukkot[16] but use a different mode from that employed in Judaism in order to determine the dates annually.[17] Yom Teru'ah (the Biblical name for "Rosh Hashanah"), at the beginning of Tishrei, is not considered a New Year as it is in Rabbinic Judaism.

Passover is particularly important in the Samaritan community, climaxing with the sacrifice of up to 40 sheep. The Counting of the Omer remains largely unchanged; however, the week before Shavuot is a unique festival celebrating the continued commitment Samaritanism has maintained since the time of Moses. Shavuot is characterized by nearly day-long services of continuous prayer, especially over the stones on Gerizim traditionally attributed to Joshua.


During Sukkot, the sukkah is built inside houses, as opposed to outdoor settings that are traditional among Jews.[18] Samaritan historian Benyamim Tsedaka traces the indoor-sukkah tradition to persecution of Samaritans during the Byzantine Empire.[18] The roof of the Samaritan sukkah is decorated with citrus fruits and the branches of palmmyrtle, and willow trees, according to the Samaritan interpretation of the four species designated in the Torah for the holiday.[18]

The restrictions of Yom Kippur are more universal in Samaritanism, with even breastfeeding and the feeding of children being disallowed.[citation needed]


In the Samaritan tradition, the tallit is a gown worn over their clothes during most holy days, and the tzitzit are considered the 22 "buttons" on the right lapel of the gown, and the corresponding loops on its left lapel.[citation needed] The tzitziyot are always in the same color as the gown, which is usually white.


The seder at Gerizim



VI. From a Jewish viewpoint, are they Jews- or not: There is an entire Treatise( Minor)  of the Talmud_Masechut Kutim-Tractate of the Kutim( Samaritans).

The Samaritans in some of their ways resemble the Gentiles and in some resemble Israel, but in the majority they resemble Israel.

It then gives a list of things which one may or may not do, in terms of their status as pagans or Israel:

 Why are Samaritans forbidden to enter the Jewish community? Because they have become mixed up with the priests of the high places. R. Ishmael said: They were originally genuine proselytes. Why, then, are they forbidden? Because of the illegitimate females13[Since they are a mixed people, they include females who may not have been born to Israelite mothers and in turn their offspring are non-Israelite since their status in this respect depends upon that of the mother.] and because they do not perform the levirate duty to a married woman.14But perform ḥaliẓah instead. Cf. I, 11

 When may they be received into the Jewish community? When they have renounced Mount Gerizim and acknowledged Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead.15[That the Samaritans denied the doctrine of resurrection is recorded in Sanh. 90b (Sonc. ed., p. 606, n. 1).] From then onwards one who robs a Samaritan is like one who robs an Israelite. [62a]





Music-sample of Samaritan worship ( similar in rhythmic pattern to Yemenite Jewish  chant)

and for a beautiful fusion of Samaritan and Middle Eastern music:

Popular singer Sofi Tsedakah-introduction



source for more information

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Karaites- Our Historic Jewish Protestants


The Karaites- Our Historic Jewish Protestants

 May 1 Discussion

You can follow the recorded session here:



Judaism- a combination of the written books of the Bible, together with the traditions and interpretations of our Sages, as collected and formalized in the Mishna and Talmud. That distinguished us from other Bible-inspired faiths, whether Sadducees( the Priestly and landlord classes), the Essenes and the Dead Sea movements, the Samaritans, and the early Christians ( the Ebionites), and later , Christianity & Islam. Even when the Roman empire oppressed, us they did not so much outlaw Judaism as “ Deuterosis”- the teachings of the Rabbinic commentaries. A standard of Judaism which recognizes Torah sh’Ba’al Peh and Torah sh’Bikhtav, written and oral.

This combination of Oral and Written helped Judaism adjust throughout the ages. Except for Christianity and Islam, which disconnected completely from the Jewish people, all the others disappeared or shrank to a handful.


Around 1200 years ago, we had our own Protestant Reformation. Catholic Christianity is built on their scriptures, plus apostolic tradition ( their version of Torah sh’ bal peh. Martin Luther broke ranks with concept: Sola scriptura-On the written.

This is our Protestant moment.

( Sources: Jewish Encyclopedia. Direct excerpts in Italics)

Bnai Mikra-Baalei Mikra, Karaim-Hence- Karaite- The one who follows the Mikra- the written Bible, as distinguished from the Rabbanites, followers of the Rabbis. Originally identified as “ Ananites” from the founder, Anan,

adopted a large part of rabbinical Judaism, either outright or with more or less modification, while at the same time it borrowed from earlier or later Jewish sects—Sadducees, Essenes, 'Isawites, Yudghanites, etc.—as well as from the Mohammedans.

7th. 8th century, with Islam, various Jewish sects arose as well. Many such groups opposed the authority of the Rabbis. Looked for one unifying figure.

There was a battle for succession of the Exilarch- Resh Galuta- Ruler of the Exile.

Anan ben David, had been a candidate for the highest dignity existing among the Jews at the time—the exilarchate. 760, two brothers  Anan and Josiah (Hassan), were next in order of succession Anan was older and better trained. nevertheless the nomination was given to Josiah and was recognized as such by the Caliph.

Anan denounced the decision and had himself declared Exilarch by his followers. This was seen as a rebellion against the Caliph’s authority, and Anan was thrown in prison. In prison, he became friends with the founder of the Hanafi tradition of Islam, who advised him how to succeed. At his trial, he threw himself at the feet of the Caliph and declared his innocence, not as rebel, but as head of a different religious group! He made the claim that his religion was altogether in line with Islam! This now gained him political protection.

The new Religion:

He went back to the Bible, but needed a set of interpretations and practical applications. He took methods found in Talmudic sources. He also found what may have been documents from the Essenes and the Sadducees

 older sects prohibited the burning of any lights and the leaving of one's dwelling on the Sabbath; they also enjoined the actual observation of the new moon for the appointment of festivals, and the holding of the Pentecost festival always on a Sunday.

From Isawites and the Yudganites immediately preceding this epoch, he borrowed the recognition and justification of Jesus as the prophet for the followers of Christianity, and of Mohammed for those of Islam; in this way ingratiating himself with professors of those creeds. From them, too, came his prohibition of all meat—with the exception of the flesh of the deer and the dove—in token of mourning for the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem. Some of his methodology was taken form Abu Hanifah. He set about proving that he was more strict, not less, than the Rabbanites.


between 830 and 890 new, actual intellects arose, who changed the direction- most prominent: Benjamin al-Nahawendi. The followers went in one of two directions- either loosening completely the observances, or becoming very ascetic in practice. The middle road won out, to be called “Karaism”.

Nahawendi shows no trace of Anan's artificial opposition to the Talmud; on the contrary he often defends the Talmudists against Anan's attacks. He occupies a highly important position in the history of Karaism, and he did much for the consolidation of the new sect. He was, moreover, the first Karaite writer to use the Hebrew language; as far as is known, he composed at least three of his works in Hebrew—"Sefer Dinim," "Sefer ha-Miwot," and the commentary on Genesis. He marks, therefore, a new epoch in the development of Karaism.

Golden Age

in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The representatives of this epoch are: Abu Yusuf Ya'ub al-irisani, Sahl ibn Malia, Solomon ben Jeroham, Yafith ibn 'Ali, David al-Fasi, Abu al-Faraj Harun, Yusuf al-Bair and his pupil Abu al-Faraj Furan.

Al-irisani was, so far as is known, the first Karaite writer to defend the dictates of common sense and of knowledge in religious matters; the second part of his chief work, "Kitab al-Anwar" (Book of Lights), treats of the necessity of investigation and of reason, and of the determination of the proofs of reason and analogical conclusions. He adopts for Karaism without modification the views of the Motekallamin and the Motazilites.

Yafith ben Ali is an important source for the Rabbinic Bible commentator, ibn Ezra

Karaism in its growth spurt:

During the first centuries of the existence of the sect, Karaism was widely extended among the Jews, and could boast of making many converts among the followers of the parent religion, gathering them in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Babylonia, and Persia.

Firstly, sectarianism was then rife in the East as result of success of Islam

 In the second place, unrestricted study of the Bible as the only source of religion was most attractive also to the more liberal elements within traditional Judaism that were dissatisfied with the stagnation shown in the methods of the Babylonian academies.

In the third place, the directors of the academies (the Geonim), who were at that time out of touch with science and all secular matters, were too short-sighted to recognize the dangers threatening traditional Judaism on the part of the new sect, and believed that by simply ignoring it they could destroy it.


Stopped by Saadia Gaon

Saadia al-Fayyumi (892-942),  he was successful also in his polemics against the Karaites. Thanks to his forceful intellect and his scientific attainments, he entirely averted the danger threatening traditional Judaism and assured its victory over Karaism 

From Wikipedia ( excerots in Italics)

Karaite Jews were able to obtain autonomy from Rabbanite Judaism in the Muslim world and establish their own institutions. Karaites in the Muslim world also obtained high social positions such as tax collectors, doctors, and clerks, and even received special positions in the Egyptian courts. Karaite scholars were among the most conspicuous practitioners in the philosophical school known as Jewish Kalam.According to historian Salo Wittmayer Baron, at one time the number of Jews affiliating with Karaism was as much as 40 percent of world Jewry.


Karaites had spread to Europe as well, especially in eastern Europe, where they benefited from being apart from the larger Jewish community: Lithuania, Poland, Galicia, notably Crimea.

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wojsyl


Karaim kenesa in Trakai. Kenesa, from Bebrew for “ gathering”, cognate of “Knesset”, bet knesseth.

Eupatorian Kenassas of Crimean Karaites.

 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.( Eugenmakh)

During the 19th century, Russian authorities began to differentiate Karaite Jews from Rabbanite Jews, freeing them from various oppressive laws that affected Rabbinic Jews. In the 1830’s. the Governor told the Karaite leaders that, even though the Russian Empire liked the idea that the Karaites did not accept the Talmud, they were still Jews and responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and thus subject to the laws. The leaders…told him that the Karaites had already settled in the Crimea before the death of Jesus.  Abraham Firkovich (1786-1874)… helped establish the idea among the Russian authorities that the Karaites, as descendants of the exiled northern kingdom of Israel had already gone into exile centuries before the death of Jesus and thus had no responsibility for it. These actions convinced the Tsar that Karaite ancestors could not have killed Jesus and that thus their descendants were free of familial guilt.

Despite this, within the community Ḥakhamim still taught that the Karaites were and had always been a part of the Jewish people; prayer was in Hebrew, the lineage of KohensLevites, and families of Davidic descent were meticulously preserved, books printed in Hebrew adamantly identified the Karaites as Jews.


Karaites in Egypt

The Karaite community of Egypt was considered to be well integrated within Egyptian society. A split emerged around the turn of the century, however, between those now termed "progressives" and those termed "traditionalists". The progressives, …a more liberal interpretation of Halakha, along with societal reforms and greater solidarity with Rabbanites. The traditionalists were led by Chief Hakham Tubiah ben Simhah Levi Babovich, called for greater separatism from both Rabbanites and Zionism. That community has mostly settled in Israel after being expelled from Egypt under Nasser. One of their members was a prominent underground figure for Israel and considered a hero in Israel, like Eli Cohen in Syria.


Karaites Today:

Estimates of the size of the modern Karaite movement put the number at 1,500 Karaites in the United States,[45] some 80 Constantinopolitan Karaites in Turkey,[46] 30,000 in Israel,[47] the largest communities being in RamlaAshdod and Beersheba, 1,196 in Ukraine (with Crimea), 300 in Lithuania and 205 in Russia. At the Polish census of 2002, only 45 people declared themselves "Karaims", including 43 Polish citizens.[48]

The Congregation B'nai Israel is located in Daly City, California, which is a suburb of San Francisco. It is the only Karaite synagogue in the United States with a permanent dedicated facility. 

On 1 August 2007, some members of the first graduating class of Karaite Jewish University were converts, representing the first new officially authorized members into Karaite Judaism in 542 years.[52] 

Karaite synagogue in old city Jerusalem

By Ori~ - Own work, Attribution,


Key principals:

 The disagreement arises over the rabbinic tradition's raising of the Talmud and the other writings of the rabbis above the Torah. The Karaites believe this has led to traditions and customs being kept under rabbinic law that contradict what is written in the Torah. The Karaites also have their own traditions and customs passed down from their ancestors and religious authorities. These are known as Sevel HaYerushah, which means "the Yoke [or burden] of Inheritance." 

Their leaders were called “ Hakham”, which is also a common Seohardic title for Rabbi ( it is also my official title from Rabbinical school” Rabbi and Hakham”. Currently, I see the using the title “ Rabbi” as well.



As with other Jews, during Shabbat, Karaites attend synagogues to worship and to offer prayers. Most Karaites refrain from sexual relations on that day since they maintain that engaging in them can cause fatigue and copulation, in particular, results in ritual impurity on this holy day. . . additionally, impregnating one's wife is considered melakha (forbidden work). Their prayer books are composed almost completely of biblical passages. Karaite Jews often practice full prostration during prayers.

Unlike Rabbinic Jews, Karaites do not practice the ritual of lighting Shabbat candles. …The vast majority of Karaite Jews hold that, throughout the Tanakh, ba‘ar explicitly means "to burn", while the Hebrew word meaning "to ignite" or "to kindle" is hidliq. Accordingly, the mainstream in Karaite Judaism takes the passage to mean that fire should not be left burning in a Jewish home on Shabbat, regardless of whether it was lit prior to, or during the Sabbath.

Historically, Karaites refrained from using or deriving benefit from fire until the Sabbath ends, and accordingly their homes were not lit during the night of the Sabbath. Many modern Karaites today use a fluorescent or LED lamp powered by batteries, which is turned on prior to Shabbat. Many observant Karaites either unplug their refrigerators on Shabbat or turn off the circuit breakers. Karaites consider producing electricity to be a violation of Shabbat, no matter who produces it.

Shavuot and Omer; Rabbinic counts from 2nd day of festival. Karaites count from the day after the first Shabbat during the Pesach( Like Saduccees).

Tsitsit- Karaite Jews believe that the importance of Tekhelet is that the color of thread is blue-violet and it may be produced from any source, including synthetic industrial dyes. ( Ours are white, with exception of a few groups who claim they have the original source of the dye).The tying of the tistit is also distinct.

Karaite Jews do not wear tefillin in any form. According to Karaites, the Biblical passages cited for this practice are metaphorical, and mean to "remember the Torah always and treasure it". This is because the commandment in scripture is "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart".

Like Tefillin, Karaites interpret the scripture that mandates inscribing the Law on doorposts and city gates as a metaphorical admonition, specifically, to keep the Law at home and away


Lulav-  Karaite Jews have always understood the Arba`at haMinim to be used for the purpose of constructing the roof of the Sukkah (pl. Sukkot); they are not made into a lulav and shaken in six directions,( similar to Samaritans).


Are Karaite accepted as Jews?

During the Holocaust, it was a matter of life or death.

Crimean Karaites or Krymkaraylar ( asopposed to Krimchaks, or Crimean Rabbanite Jews)

In 1934, the heads of the Karaite community in Berlin asked the Nazi authorities to exempt Karaites from the anti-Semitic regulations based on their legal status as Russians in Russia. The Reich Agency for the Investigation of Families determined that, from the standpoint of German law, the Karaites were not to be considered Jews. The letter from the Reichsstelle für Sippenforschung (de) officially ruled:The Karaite sect should not be considered a Jewish religious community

SS Obergruppenfuhrer Gottlob Berger wrote on November 24, 1944:

"Their Mosaic religion is unwelcome. However, on grounds of race, language and religious dogma... Discrimination against the Karaites is unacceptable, in consideration of their racial kinsmen [Berger was here referring to the Crimean Tatars]. However, so as not to infringe the unified anti-Jewish orientation of the nations led by Germany, it is suggested that this small group be given the opportunity of a separate existence (for example, as a closed construction or labor battalion)..."

When interrogated, Ashkenazi rabbis in Crimea told the Germans that Karaites were not Jews, in an effort to spare the Karaite community the fate of their Rabbanite neighbors.[39] Many Karaites risked their lives to hide Jews, and in some cases claimed that Jews were members of their community. The Nazis impressed many Karaites into labor battalions.[40]

According to some sources, Nazi racial theory asserted that the Karaites of Crimea were actually Crimean Goths who'd adopted the Crimean Tatar language and their own distinct form of Judaism.[4

So, are they historically related to mainstream Jews- or not?

Leon Kull and Kevin Alan Brook led the first scientific study of Crimean Karaites using genetic testing of both Y chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA and their results claimed to showed that, the Crimean Karaites are indeed partially of Middle Eastern origin and closely related to other Jewish communities (AshkenaziSephardi and Mizrahi Jews), while finding that the Crimean Karaites are genetically unrelated to non-Jewish Turkic-speaking peoples of the region.[64][65]



Rabbinic scholars have traditionally held that, because the Karaites do not observe the rabbinic law on divorce, there is a strong presumption that they are mamzerim (adulterine bastards), so that marriage with them is forbidden even if they return to Rabbinic Judaism…. In contrast, in 1971, Ovadia Yosef, who was then the Chief Rabbi of the Sefaradim and ‘Edot HaMizraḥ of Israel, proclaimed that Egyptian Karaites are Jews and that it is permissible for Rabbinic Jews to marry with them.

Some images of Karite Jews:

Note kneeling, as in  Moslem usage, with Tallit, as with conventional Jews.


 Karaite women

A Karaite family in Crimea

The article identifies them as the truly indigenous people of Ukraine!

Here is a Karaite group here in USA


A prayer done for Shavuot

The same prayer, redone to popular Sefardic melody for Havdalah ( likhvod  khemdat levavi)

Rock melody set to poem of ibn Gavirol, who is identified as a Rabbanite.

Ki Eshmera Shabbat, a popular song among Jews, by ibn Ezra, who was a Rabbanite, but whose commentaries they use: