Talk:Karaite Judaism

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Local and Global Leadership[edit]

I would like to suggest the addition of a section explaining the leadership aspect within KJ. Many people who have heard of KJ, but don't know much about it, assume that KJ has rabbis like Rabbinic Judaism. However, in KJ, a ḥaḵam fills some of the role in KJ that rabbis fill in RJ (although, how that is executed in each is a little different, which could be explained). Also, the role of the ḥazzan could also be elaborated. Both of these can be explained without too much detail as there are dedicated articles for both ḥaḵamîm and ḥazzanîm which give a wider picture to their roles. At this point, it might be a good place to mention the most significant differences between a rabbinic and a karaite bêt kĕnesset (lack of benches/chairs, who's in charge, et cætera).

On a more global level, there is the Moˁeṣet HaḤaḵamîm ("Council of Sages"), World Karaite Movement, and Karaite Jewish University which have an influence on the global Karaite community. The last of which (KJU), may be the only real inroute for non-Jews to officially convert to KJ outside of Israel (at least, in the eyes of the state of Israel). Who does the global community look to as an authority for the sighting of the New Crescent Moon (for marking the new months and new years) in The Land? Also, it could be explained to readers that there is no Jewish version of the Pope.

It seems there is enough material to fill out a decent section. What prompted me to think about this was the use of the title Ḥaḵam through the article, but (as far as I have noticed) no explanation (nor wikilink) for the lay reader. Placement of the section as early as possible in the article would be helpful (the history section, Russian subsection uses the term "ḥaḵam"), but may not be best placed before the history section (maybe immediately after, just before the beliefs section).

Thoughts, anyone?
al-Shimoni (talk) 20:23, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Your idea sounds OK to me, al-Shimoni. If you want to write it, I would say go ahead. I can try to help revise it after it is added. If we just link the first occurrence of Hakham in the article as it is, the section would not have to be too long, it seems to me? Regards, warshytalk 13:47, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Reduction of See Also and External Links sections[edit]

Both of these sections were already template tagged as violating WP guidelines concerning the See Also and External Links sections. The External Links section was particularly bad as it contained many blogs, minor sites in non-English, dead websites, websites not even related to the topic, etc. The See Also section had so many entries that it was subsectioned into various categories (admittedly, I was the one who organized it into sections a long time ago because it was a long mess). Many of the topics see-alsoed were already wikilinked in the body of the article. The only remaining hint of sectioning is three people who are secondary bulleted under the List of Karaite Jews bullet.
Although not perfect, these two sections now better comply to WP's guidelines. — al-Shimoni (talk) 22:07, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

There are some pictures from the heritage of the Turkish Karaite jewish community at this link. I know very little about WP copyright handling, so leave the source for whoever would be interested in adding pics to the article. --E4024 (talk) 18:32, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

A revision of Karaite history from a fresh partisan/sectarian perspective[edit]

For editors here interested in, and who focus on Karaite history more specifically, an entire revision of it is being undertaken in Wikipedia right now by an avowed priest of a supposed "Islamic Mosaist" sect. For those interested, the hub/nub of this new attemtp to completely rewrite Karaite history from a purely Islamic perspective is here. warshytalk 18:49, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Karaite Jewish sages like (Jeshua ben Judah and Jacob ben Reuben of Byzanteum) have always done their best to make sure the Khazar converts (Karaimlar) should never be confused with real Karaite Jews. It is bad enough that sites like this one think all Karaites are Khazar Karaims isn't it? Why do you want to keep the distinction blurred? So that you can claim to be a Karaite Jew while being uncircumcised and believing in Jesus and Muhammad at the same time? Karaims and genuine Karaite Jews are very clearly distinct. Read John Kinnamos. Kaz 17:58, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
(Corrected wikilink above.) --E4024 (talk) 18:11, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you :) Kaz 18:27, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Kaz, For what it's worth, it looks like the website at is, thankfully, no more. Someone seems to have snatched it from the previous owner and put something more appropriate in its place. — al-Shimoni (talk) 01:35, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

how many Karaites in Istanbul?[edit]

The section Karaites today" starts with about 100 families in Istanbul and later says "there are about 80 Karaites living in Istanbul". --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 02:47, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Messianic Missionary Evangelisation?[edit]

It seems to me that certain users are attempting to evangelise by regurgitating an oft-repeated mistranslation of the Russian word Evrei as Jews (Iudei) rather than Hebrews. Using this mantle, these missionaries are able to insert passages into articles like this one to convince the Karaite Jewish audience that the Karaims of Eastern Europe (Crimea, Russia etc.) were once Karaite Jews, rather than Karai-Tatars (meaning black tatars) Tengri worshippers who were converted to an early form of Unitarianism and who have been confused with Jews ever since. The intention obviously being to encourage Karaites Jews to read the works of Jesus and Muhammad and discover "Messianic Karaite Judaism". Warshy seems particularly interested in hiding the Karai-Tatar truth and pushing the Evrei = Jewish POV. But he is certainly not alone. The truth about the Karaims of Eastern Europe is that there was only a question on their identity after Catherine the Creat partitioned the Polish Lithuanian commonwealth and invaded Crimea. At this point the Karaims first came to the attention of the Russian authorities. While the Karaims had enjoyed officer-rank privileges under the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, the Russians were not sure at first how to apply the anti-Jewish legislation inherited from the Commonwealth, and the question of whether Karaims were meant to be included under the legislation arose. Within two years, Benjamin Aga had explained the history of the Karaims to Tzarina Catherine the Great, and the Officer-privileges for Karaims were enshrined in Russian law and not long after that the Imperial Russian Orthodox Church granted the Church of the Karaims official status with two diocese putting them on an equal status with Islam in the Empire. However, the Wiki-Missionaries present quite a different POV throughout all the wiki articles, that except for their Tatar identity the views of the Karaims of Eastern Europe may have had a legitimate place amidst the Karaite Jews. They present the Karaims' "Khazar" identity (which has always been well-accepted in Russian academic circles e.g. [1]) as a late 19th century fabrication apparently in the hopes that young Karaite Jews will find the references to "Christ and Muhammad" prior to these dates and consider that there might be some room for the teachings of Jesus within Karaite Judaism from a Unitarian stance.

Thus it seems to me that the Russian and Crimean and Lithuanian sections of the article need to be reduced significantly to reflect the historical facts rather than a mixture of Missionary POV pushing and prejudicial fantasy. It seems it would be sufficient to have a section saying something like:

Possible Karaite Jewish origins of the Karaims
It has been suggested by X, Y, and Z that the Karaims of Eastern Europe (Crimea, Lithuania, Russia, etc.) may have originated with Karaite Jewish migrants in the Xth century. However, Karaims were not included under anti-Jewish legislation while they lived under the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a position which Catherine the Great also adopted towards them after they were incorporated into her Empire. Whatever the truth about their origin may be, the majority of East European Karaims themselves regard themselves as Karai-Tatar in origin related to the Keraits rather than Karaites. The religion of the East European Karaims is syncretic in character incorporating some ideas from both Rabbinical and Karaite Judaism, as well as Christian, Islamic and pagan elements. For more information see Karaims (ethnic group).

It does not seem to me that there is a need to go into any more detail than that. Wikipedia should not be used as a podium to evangelise Jews by spreading misinformation from non-peer reviewed sources. Any thoughts from users other than those involved in promoting the confusion? Kaz 08:26, 21 September 2012 (UTC) May I just add that the 16:04, 2 October 2012 edit is my edit, I just forgot to log in. 16:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

This territory is off for lies and forgeries[edit]

Here the story is still recorded with all the elements it needs to be judged correctly in an impartial historical perspective. Here you are not going to be allowed to continue this campaign of historical falsifications, lies, and forgeries. You have established somewhere else, for the time being, that your fringe sect does not belong to Karaism. Your concerted campaing of religious lies and falsifications do not belong in Wikipedia at all, and they will be eventually purged. But here you beware. Nothing here is going to be changed without proper discussion first. No one reacted to your previous posts here, but now you have crossed all lines. warshytalk 16:35, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Unsourced Unreferenced POV Original Research[edit]

Nice Straw man Ad hominem attack there Mr Missionary. Tell me which of the requests for citation which you are trying to remove is a forgery of lies? How is my removal of dead links from your self-published website (which you are trying to re-insert) a campaign of historical falsifications? Kaz 18:15, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

You are a boldface liar. You are changing stable (not good by any means, but definitely stable and a very good basis for true historical inquiry) content and replacing it with lies and forgeries, without citing any reliable sources. The lies and forgeries that you have so far fed the English WP in the page that refers to your fringe, non-notable religious-ethnic sect, making a big thing out of a couple hundred people allegedly belonging to some kind of invented, impossible, oxymoronic "Islamic Mosaism" are up for exposure. You lie through your teeth saying the complete content change you made twice are a request for sources. And you reverted it twice already saying you are "not" starting an edit war. You have crossed all lines now and I am reporting you to the appropriate forums. warshytalk 18:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

We will see who exactly is a bold-faced liar. Wikipedia is not a place to post Unsourced Unreferenced POV Original Research to be as you put it "a very good basis for true historical inquiry". You continue to build your Straw man Ad hominem, but I repeat my questions:

"Tell me which of the requests for citation which you are trying to remove is a forgery of lies? How is my removal of dead links from your self-published website (which you are trying to re-insert) a campaign of historical falsifications? Kaz 18:15, 2 October 2012 (UTC)"

Kaz 19:04, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

External links issues, again[edit]

Issue of EL has come up again in recent edits. I have reduced the ELs down, again, to make them further in compliance with Wikipedia guidelines on External Links.

In truth, all the current links violate the Wikipedia guidelines, although the Faith Strengthened link is probably to closest to being in full compliance. I have kept that link as well as the organization links even though the organization links fail EL guidelines. There is an exception that could have applied to the organization links which would have made them pass the guidelines (ie, being an official website of the topic), however, this exception is only applicable if it is the official website of the topic mentioned (ie, the website of the one-and-only governing body of the topic, or the person who is the topic). Since Karaite Judaism is not a cult, and does not have an official body dictating what to believe and who is a member (such as the Catholic Church, The Latter-Day Saints church, or the Church of Scientology), Karaite Judaism does not have an "Official Site". The organization EL are the next best thing, but that is not a loophole in the WP guidelines (so, basically, I'm ignoring strict compliance with the guidelines, here). Most of the links that were removed fall into what WP considers the "personal website" category, although they also violated other criteria.

The UKJ website would also be frowned upon by the guidelines because it is primarily (overwhelmingly) in Hebrew. I have added the Hebrew link icon, as guided by the WP guidelines, and changed the link destination to point to the one main page that is in English on the website (it is basically an English homepage for the site, although the rest of the site is in Hebrew). However, if the UKJ website changes its content management system, that link may become a 404, and will need to be updated.

A non-WP comment (although, could be WP-related indirectly) to Melech b.Y, if you are reading this, I would suggest that the WAK buy a domain name — using a Google Sites address does not help the WAK in looking "official" on the web (domains are only 10 $/year from GoDaddy, I would even be willing to host the WAK's site on my servers if Google doesn't provide DNS/domain-pointing to their Sites customers pages). Also, the WAK site may violate bias guidelines for external links (ie, the repeated strongly-worded monologues against UKJ, WKM, and KJU; although, this is an subjective assessment). Also, apologies for cutting your KI site's external link.
al-Shimoni (talk) 09:03, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

50 thousand??![edit]

The article mentions that there are about 50 thousand karaites around today but only gives one source. Is this enough for such an important bit of information? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:17, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

I think that would depend on whether or not there is a credible reason to believe that the source is wrong. Do you have a source that is as good or better that gives a different number? Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 07:58, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Well actually if you look at this article by the author of a book on the subject then it seems that someone with some authority says that there are only around 7 thousand. Also if you look at their own website you can see that they say they have 25 thousand in Israel and only another 5 thousand in other countries.-- (talk) 18:03, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

If nobody has a problem with it I want to change the wording at the end of the 1st section to say that today "estimates are between 25 thousand to as many as 50 thousand" with the sources?-- (talk) 01:01, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Seems like a reasonable change to me, and you don't have to ask permission. Go for it! Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 03:01, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Will do thanks.-- (talk) 22:45, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

rabbinic beliefs exalted over Torah?[edit]

" the view of Karaites, many traditions and customs are kept that are in contradiction with those expressed in the Torah," in reference to the Talmud and the writings of the Rabbis. No citation or example is given. An example would be helpful. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 21:22, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

In case of contradiction, the written law takes precedence over the oral law. See, for example, Eduyot 4:11; also, secondary sources: [1], [2]. Anecdotally, I've heard a Chasid saying that mitzvot derabanan are to be taken as more authoritative because the Talmud is more strict (or "chamur" חָמוּר); that confusion of his must have arisen from the Rabbinic ruling on cases of doubt (or "safek" סָפֵק). Someone else, particularly a Karaite, may disagree, and I would be happy to read the alternative view. Cheers! (talk) 00:05, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  1. ^ Promising Justice: Derrida with Jewish Jurisprudence A Hirvonen - Law and Critique, 2001 - Springer "Thus, those commandments (mitzvot) that come directly from the Torah (de'oraita) and are biblical, are a superior authority to those rabbinic ones which do not come from it (de'rabbanan). The de'oraita ... "
  2. ^

Russian Empire Karaites[edit]

Thank you for providing such an interesting and succinct background in this section but what are the reliable sources for this? I have found that the Karaite Jews in Crimea are in close association with the Moetzet Hakhamim of Universal Karaite Judaism under Moshe Firrouz. [2] [3]

My main question is why does the article say:

"Not all European Karaites accepted the Szapszalian doctrines. Some Hakhamim and a small part of the general Karaite population still preserved their Jewish heritage, but most[citation needed] dared not oppose Szapszal openly due to his official standing vis-à-vis the Soviet government"

Because from the links I provided [4] [5] google translate at least seems to indicate that the Yevpatoria community in Crimea are just a localized branch of Karaite Jews struggling to restore themselves following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I read that it was Mordechai Sultansky not Avraham Firkovich who is first mentioned descent from the 10 tribes. Is it time to revise this section? YuHuw (talk) 10:31, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I've been concerned recently that there appears to be an attempt in other parts of wikipedia to blur the distinction between clear Karaite Jews and certain other so-called "Karaites" in Eastern Europe who appear to be more Turanist. I have been trying hard to stop sockpuppets of User:Ancientsteppe from blurring this distinction. I think this section if cleaned up properly might help undermine the efforts of such POV warriors. YuHuw (talk) 10:37, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Also are there any sources detailing a breakdown of the population?

Some 30–50,000 are thought to reside in the 21st century in Israel, with smaller communities in Turkey, Europe and the United States.(Kershner 2013) Another estimate holds that, of the 50,000 world-wide, more than 40,000 descend from those who made aliyah from Egypt and Iraq to Israel.(Freeman 2007)

Any idea whether or not these figures include the Karaite Jews of Crimea? And is there any idea anywhere on the precise population and location of those "Karaylar-Karaites" (as Nehemiah Gordon termed them) in Eastern Europe who deny Jewish origins? YuHuw (talk) 10:45, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Certainly there is a clear difference between these legitimate Karaite Jews (Karaims or Ha-Yehudim Ha-Qara'im) and the ones referenced by Nehemiah Gordon (Karaylar or Qaraylar?) who certainly seem to be much more Christian. [User:YuHuw|YuHuw]] (talk) 10:45, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Crimean Karaies (Karaylar or Qaraylar) are not homogenious .They have several views about their identity.Some of them see themselves as Turkic tribe that beleive to Karaimism(defining it as separate from Judaism religion). Lithuanian Karaim in XX century also added one Cristian pray to their liturgy that not dedicated to Jesus but to Father-God (like Jews to Avinu Malkeinu),But no one of them are not Christians except converted to Christianity (mainly in emigration at 20 century) . Karaite Judaism indeed recognize Jesus as prophit but not of Karaits.New year/XMAS celebration is not religious.Many American Jews also have "Hanuka Tree" in their houses.Some non religious Jews in Israel also do that Неполканов (talk) 00:17, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi Неполканов so I would like to clarify a few things from your post:
1) You are now calling them Karaies and Karaylar or Qaraylar instead of Karaites.
Nothing new -please see the page about Crimean Karaites
2) You are now claiming that some Crimean Karaites see themselves as a Turkic tribe Qarailar.YuHuw (talk)
You distort what written as usual. They called themselves Qarailar or Karailar(it is Karaim translation from Hebrew to Turkic),There is no such tribe Qarailar,Part of them look themselves as adherents of Turkic Tribes of Khazaria. Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
3) You are distinguishing Lithuanian Karaim from the Crimean KaraitesYuHuw (talk)
As I explained and you can see in the article Crimean Karaites Karaim of Lithuania define themselve as Crimean Karaites (see the article again please) ,Actually there are three dialects of Karaim Language. So there are some differences but not in their religion. It is identical to Karaite Judaism except the Turk(Karaim) language of liturgy that was introduced in 1930's Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
4) You are claiming that the Avinu prayer of Jesus is used by Lithuanian KaraimYuHuw (talk)
Yes,They do it mainly to distunguish themselves from Rabanites and to fawn the authorites. They have big history of such fawns. Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
5) You claimed "Karaite Judaism indeed recognize Jesus as prophit but not of Karaits."YuHuw (talk).
Please look at 10 principes of Karaite Judaism : one of them Got sent prophits other than Moshe but their strength is less than Moshe's.Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
6) They celebrate XMAS but not in a religious way.YuHuw (talk)
Exactly as American Jews.Look at Hanukkah bush .Som eof them it because they are living in Christian surounding that do that. They see themselves as ethnic and not religious group.Most of them are Atheists Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps you would like to claim Buddha is also a Karaite prophet as well? YuHuw (talk) 07:40, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Not Karaite prophet.Karaite Judaism adherents recofgnised him as One God prophet of Buddists,(See 10 principles above) I suggest you to keep your sarkasm till yout learning good the subject before you non-consensual edits i the filed that you are not familoiar too much. Неполканов (talk) 17:33, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I used the spelling Qarailar because when I was doing my background research on you I saw you had used it here by the way [6] I could have said Qarays which is the word which appears in the Crimean Karaites article or I could have said Qaraylar which also appears there and here of course. Sadly you avoided answering my question.
Anyway, the way you define "Karaimism" makes it look like a completely different religion from Karaite Judaism.
You mentioned that use the Avinu prayer of Jesus (which appears as prayer number 122 in this [7] prayerbook written by the leader of the Crimean community in Yevpatoria) Is only used by the Lithuanian Karaim. But obviously you are wrong about that. But maybe you have a precise source to back up your claim that it was "introduced in the 1930s?" YuHuw (talk) 22:55, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Please refer to Karaites in North-Eastern Europe: The Karaite Community of Troki between the Two World Wars by M, Kizilov where written that this pray was introdused by Shymon Firkowitz in 1935
  • Regarding your question about the Eupatorian book. You miss the point again due to bad knowledge of the sources language.In the Eupatorian book you mentioned you missed the note "Можно добавить еще " before "Kipchak version of the Pater Noster".Translation of the note to English is you may add..This book was printed during the revival of Karaite religious life in Crimea tha was totally abandonded during 70 years of Soviet russification and atheism The book is based Lithuanian sources that developed national and religious life in liberal Lithuania, where all traditional Hebrew prayers were translated to Karaim Language in 1930's.In soviet Lithuania local government allowed to keep Karaim tradition. Regarding this Cristian pray the Eupatorian author understands that this pray it is not integral part of traditional Karaite liturgy. It is a reason of this note. Неполканов (talk) 21:08, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I would like to thank Неполканов for his recent attempts to add some sort of context to this controversial section. YuHuw (talk) 16:56, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
So basically what you are saying User:Неполканов is that according to all published sources posted here in this discussion as a result of a a trend which started among Lithuanian Karaims, the religion of the Crimean Karaims evolved in at least one significantly different way away from all other Karaite Jews in the world during the 20th century. YuHuw (talk) 05:29, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I am explaining you again and again and you do not understand that there is no any significant difference between religion of Crimean Karaites in Lithuania and Crimea and Karaite Judaism.All is the same,except 2 shallow differences in the ritual : one pray (that does not intended Jesus but to Jewish Avinu ) and the Turkic liturgy language instead of Hebrew . Some modern branches of Rabinnic Judaism abandoned Hebrew language in liturgy by the same way . After Christians abandoned Latin prays they still remaining to be Christians.The Shapshal's influence of Nestorian Christianity taken place by his opinion at Early Middle Ages affected all Karaite Judaism and not related to religious reforms of assimilated Crimean Karaites in Lithuanua Неполканов (talk) 20:16, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Christian Missionaries slowly changing hegemony of Karaites on Wikipedia[edit]

This is all typical Christian Missionary tactics to slowly introduce Jesus into Judaism. [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Anyone who uses a prayer of Jesus is obviously his follower. Isn't that fairly obvious to everyone? Because of that, the so-called Russian "Karaites" who use the prayer of Jesus can not be considered Jews. These "Subbotniks" are not circumcised [17] and they are not Jews. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

It is all a big misunderstanding. There are a type of Subbotnik Christian who use the prayer of Jesus alongside the Karaite Jewish Siddur. They have long been called Karaites by missionaries even though they are not Karaites. Seraya Shapshal is responsible for trying to fuse the Subbotnik Christians and the Karaims together and this caused Tuvia Babovich to move to Cairo where he maintained a pure form of Crimean Karaite Judaism which has today grown into Universal Karaite Judaism. Thus the Lithuanian Karaims were clearly very close to this sect in the early 20th century. The Prayer of Jesus found its way into the Siddur of the the modern Crimean Karaites for the same reasons. Thus the so-called "Karaites" of East Europe who are called Karaims and should very clearly be distinguished from other Karaite Jews whose tradition comes from Tuvia Babovich's group of original (now extinct) Crimean Karaite Jews who did not include the prayer of Jesus into their Siddur. The Exodus of Tuvia Babovich to Cairo marks the death of traditional Crimean Karaite Judaism in Eastern Europe and there is no need to mention here in this article anything about the Karaites of Eastern Europe after him who basically became indistinguishable from Subbotniks as a result of Seraya Shapshal's influence. YuHuw (talk) 07:11, 27 March 2016 (UTC)