Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Karaite congregation expands in California

Some 800 Karaite Jews live within driving distance of Daly city, a suburb of San Francisco. Their synagogue complex is currently undergoing expansion, with a new library to be named after Joseph Abdel Wahed, co-founder of JIMENA, a''h. This Jewish News of North California article by David Wilensky explains about Karaism and its differences wih rabbinic Judaism. (With thanks: Boruch)

Show up on a Shabbat morning at Congregation B’nai Israel in Daly City, and — if you’re a typical American Jew — you will see plenty that’s familiar. At the front of the sanctuary is an ark, and inside the ark are several Torah scrolls. There is a memorial wall at the back, listing the names of the community’s lost loved ones. Near the entrance is a rack of tallits.

It is a custom among Karaite Jews to pray kneeling on the ground, as seen here in the sanctuary of Congregation B’nai Israel in Daly City. (Courtesy/Kararite Jews of America)

But before you come in, you must remove your shoes, as Moses did when he approached the Burning Bush. Examine the rack of tallits, and you will find that the fringes are knotted and wrapped in an unusual way. In front of the pews, there is an open space covered in rugs. Some worshippers sit or kneel on the floor; when they bow, they touch their heads to the ground. The prayers follow a different structure, and the sound is very Middle Eastern.

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More about Karaites

1 comment:

NancyB said...

I never knew about the Karaite Jews. I have learned so much from your blog in the past two years. Many thanks for your excellent work!