What is Karaite Judaism?

Please explain I saw a book in passing about it and whether it is 'real' Judaism but I didn't stop and pick it up.

I'm curious enough to want to know but don't care enough to do my own research into it because I feel like it probably won't apply to me or my life...so if you already know what it is just let me know please.

5 Answers

  • 6 years ago

    There are several groups actualy that are all called "Karaite"

    What is in common among them is that they do not have the body of traditional Jewish legal interpretation that was carried on by the Jewish religious-legal academies from "time immemorial" (the so-called "Oral Law")

    The most well known is the Karaite movement which started in Bagdad in the 9th century.

    Much like fundamentalist Protestant Christianity -- it rejected the whole body of Jewish history and attempted to learn solely from the written Torah.

    Are they "real Jews" -- yes. The movement began in the Jewish academy in Bagdad.

    But they are, to use the Christian term "heretics" -- and therefore there are certain limitations on the mode of interaction with them dictated by Jewish law.

    Then there are those Jewish communities who were left without schoalrs and leaders through external violence -- and atempted to continue on their own with whatever they could remember and the rest that they could glean directly from the text.

    Are these "real Jews"? Yes --

    When such a community is met, an integration program is set up to integrate them with the rest of world Jewish community (as for example with the Ethiopian Jews)

    Finaly - there are groups who have "self converted", generaly starting with the Christian scriptures and then eliminating Jesus and the NT. There are a couple of such groups (ie: Lithuanian Karaims and the Subbotnik Karaites). They self-identify as something different from the rest of the Jewish world -- and that self-characterization is accepted by Jewish religious leaders. ie: - NO they are not Jews.

    If such "self-converted" groups ask -- then a program is established to integrate them into Judaism -- study programs are put in place and each individual in the community is converted as they become ready (for example the Ugandan "Abayuda")

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  • 6 years ago

    Karaite Judaism is a sect of Jews that originated around 800 CE (so it is only 1200 years old compared to Judaism that is 3500 years old).

    They state that only the written law is valid (which is where their name comes form "Keri" means to read in Hebrew) and that the oral law doe snot need to be followed. However, they soon had to develop their own version of the oral law as without further explanations the written Torah is impossible to follow.

    As far as there status goes: they are considered Jewish as they do not allow conversion and originated from Jews. However, this is now being questioned as they in the last 10 years started converting others in an attempt to stop their sect dying out (there are only around 50000 of them left worldwide). This status does NOT mean we see them as Jews for all purposes. They cannot marry a non-Karaite Jew or join a non-Karaite community without first accepting Jewish law as it is practiced by others. They do not need to undergo a full conversion- but until they accept Jewish law in its entirety they are not able to function in a non-Karaite community

    Source(s): Orthodox Jew; Reverend
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  • 6 years ago

    It is a form of Judaism that follows what the Torah says, rather than what the rabbi's say. For example, Exodus 23:19 states "The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk."

    From this command not to "seethe a kid in his mothers milk." we see the rabbis saying that there must be separate milk and meat plates, that cheeseburgers are not kosher, that the combining of meat and milk products are forbidden. But the torah simply says don't cook a kid in his mothers milk. Everything beyond this is man's tradition.

    In rabbinic judaism the opinions of the rabbis takes precedence over the torah.

    Karaite Jews say that if it isn't in the Torah, you don't have to follow it.

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  • Feivel
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Jews who believe in only the "written Torah" but then wear kippot in their services, which is Talmudic (oral law).

    Whatever, their irony...not mine

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  • Kevin7
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    It is a small but ancient Jewish sect that rejects the Talmud and Jewish oral law. Crimea,Israel and Egypt are traditional centers of that sect. Karaites are just as Jewish as non-KaraiteJews,I am Jewish

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