Karaites hold first conversion in 500 years

by Maskil on August 5, 2007

Karaite Kenesa of Trakai, Lithuania.
Image via Wikipedia

According to this Breaking News article on the JTA website, the Karaites,

A fringe Jewish sect that rejects the authority of post-biblical rabbinic law performed its first conversion in 500 years…

After a year of study, 10 adults and four minors — from locations as far afield as the Czech Republic, Australia and Canada — swore fealty to Karaite Judaism.

Mazal Tov! I take this to be an understanding on the part of Karaite Judaism that it is essential to accept (if not actively recruit) converts to replace those members lost through natural attrition.

The Karaites represent to me a surviving effort to question the authority of Rabbinic Judaism. In a pluralistic Jewish world, we should be able to accommodate this outlook as legitimate, even if we don’t necessarily agree with it.

I look forward to a time when Judaism sees itself as a family (perhaps the equivalent of the Christian faith, with any number of different churches still describing themselves as Christian) rather than as a hierarchy after the fashion of the Roman Catholic Church.

Karaites hold first conversion in 500 years

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  • Jay

    Shalom,

    I’d like to correct some errors, inaccuracies and misconceptions here.

    Firstly, Qaraite Judaism isn’t a sect but a Jewish denomination or movement. If we were to adhere to the meaning of the word “sect” across the board, we should be labelling Orthodox Judaism a sect as well.

    Secondly, what the 14 converts swore fealty to was the God of Israel and the people of Israel, not to Qaraite Judaism.

    Lastly, I just can’t get enough of your metaphor for Orthodox Judaism as a hierarchy fashioned sort of like the Roman Catholic Church. You go!

  • Jay

    Shalom, I’d like to correct some errors, inaccuracies and misconceptions here.Firstly, Qaraite Judaism isn’t a sect but a Jewish denomination or movement. If we were to adhere to the meaning of the word “sect” across the board, we should be labelling Orthodox Judaism a sect as well.Secondly, what the 14 converts swore fealty to was the God of Israel and the people of Israel, not to Qaraite Judaism.Lastly, I just can’t get enough of your metaphor for Orthodox Judaism as a hierarchy fashioned sort of like the Roman Catholic Church. You go!

  • Maskil

    Shalom Jay. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the corrections and the positive feedback.

  • Maskil

    Shalom Jay. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the corrections and the positive feedback.

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