A tour of the The Universal Karaite Judaism Center in Ramle is like “travel in time” or digging up a time capsule from the Middle Ages. At one point in history, during the 8th Century C.E., the Karaites were 40% of the Jew in the world. Now, due to ostracism, excommunication and reciprocal intra-faith nastiness between the Karaites and mainstream Judaism, the Karaites have dwindled down to approximately 50,000 world-wide. Of the Karaites living in Israel, about 40,000 came from Egypt. A minority of Israeli Karaites made Aliyah from Iraq, Turkey and Russia. The largest Karaite community in Israel is in Ramle. Other Karaite communities exist in Ofakim, Ashdod, Beer Sheva, Bat Yam, Jerusalem, Arad, Kiryat Gat, Rishon Lezion and three moshavim: Renen, Beit Ezra and Matzliach. The Karaite Community has its own synagogues, butcher, cemetery, culture hall and social center as well as the Universal Karaite Judaism Center in Ramle next to the largest Karaite synagogue. Take note that the synagogue has no chairs or benches. The Karaite mezuzah is a model of the Ten Commandments.
- 16 Yosef Klausner Street, Ramle
- Tel: 08-9249104
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wheel Chair Accessible
- Entrance Fee: NIS 20 per person for groups up to 5 persons, NIS 10 for group up to 50 persons, NIS 8 for groups 5o persons or more.
- All visits must be coordinated by phone: 08-9249104
A Taste of Karaite Judaism In 30 Minutes or Less (Part 1)
A Taste of Karaite Judaism In 30 Minutes or Less (Part 2)
The Karaites of Crimea, the Ukraine, and Russia are an ethnic group derived from Turkic-speaking adherents of Karaism in Eastern Europe. Assimilation and emigration greatly reduced the ranks of the Karaite community. There is evidence that the overwhelming majority of this region’s Karaites continue to follow the Turkic-Khazar rather than Jewish orientation.
Cave town Chufut-Kale and Karaites Cemetery
Just 3 km (1.9 mi) east of Bakhchisaray is a medieval city-fortress in the Crimean Mountains that now lays in ruins. Chufut-Kale is a national monument of Crimean Karaite culture. After the Crimean Khan Menglis-Girei moved his capital to Bakhchisarai, only Karaites and several Krymchak families remained to live there due to anti-Jewish restrictions for stay in other towns of the Crimean Khanate. Tatars considered Karaites to be Jews, hence the town gradually acquired the name of Chufut-Kale, which in Turkic meant “Jewish fortress” with negative and scornful meaning.