Karaimites

Karaimites (Караимиты) or Karaimists (Караимствующие literally meaning Karaimizers or Karaitizers) practice Subbotnik-Karaimism (Караимство meaning Karaimization). It is not Karaite Judaism but it is a Messianic way of approximating in life certain practices from Hebraic tradition as understood in socio-historical context. Fundamentaly Karaimites consider the whole of The Law of Moses was given in the Pentateuch alone and do not accept any subtraction from nor addition to that law but observe the elements of that  law (e.g. circumcision) in the heart according to Jeremiah's New Covenant rather than in the flesh. Subbotnik-Karaimism was unfairly persecuted in Russia around the turn of the 16th and 20th centuries being misunderstood as Judaization rather than tolerated as simply the way that certain descendants of Israel have chosen to express their spiritual heritage with the support of gentile friends. In the not too distant past, Polish Karaites used to be considered religious Karaimites too but as a result of religious persecution became a secular ethnic group under communism and are no longer friendly to Russian Karaimites

Karaimites may be either Russian-Karaims (Zera Yisrael) whose men should be circumcised or Karimi-Karaitizers (Friends) whose men should be uncircumcised. The difference between Russian-Karaims and Karimi-Karaitizers is the difference between the Biblical Ezrakh Israelite and Ger Noachite interpreted by Karaimites as professional ('Alim) and amateur ('Ummi) respectively. 

As Karaimites may be either Zera Yisrael (Mahul Russian Karaims) or Noahites (Areil Karimi Karaitizers) they are not "Karaimite Jews" and though they often live among the Jews the Karaimites are noticeable precisely because of this two tier system. Neither are Karaimites anything to do with Sadducean Korahim. In fact there are certain religions like Sadduceeanism which one must reject in order to join the association because Sadduceeism has unspiritual tenents such as rejecting the Afterlife. Moreover, if there are any religious sects or cults which promote certain sexual practices or psychotropic drugs or require adherents to disrespect God, or Moses, or Jesus, or to praise demons etc, then they must also must be rejected. Subbotnik-Karaimism is not a cult.

Is Subbotnik-Karaimism really Jewish at all? That depends on the political motivations of people who think about it. Precisely it is the oldest continual form of Messianic Judaism but there are just as many Jews who do not regard it as Jewish as there are Christians who do not regard it as Christian. Equally we also have supporters from both camps. 

In fact, although comparatively tiny in its number of adherents, Subbotnk-Karaimism after Christianity and Islam makes The Third Messianic Religion but is the only one of those three to be recognised as Jewish by the modern State of Eretz Israel. The State of Israel's official policy towards us depends very much on the coalition in power at any one time. Currently we are recognized as eligible for Jewish citizenship thank God despite the illegal yet unpenalized Missionary campaigns of those who are against us. Such people are enemies to the peace-loving Noachite movement which only aims to absorb all Zera Yisrael, Christians and Muslims in Israel into faithful and religiously legal, respected, protected and defended loyalty to the Jewish State's Jewish overseers.

Karaimites came from the ancient Hypsistarian religion of the Crimeans (Karimi). They were not Karaites, only Karai-like and so somewhat unfairly they are thus called Karaitizers. Nevertheless, they were actually more like Noahites to the Krymchaks than Crimean Karaite imitators, despite appearances. In the Islamic World they are called Tsabian Hanifs while in the Christian World they are Messianic Jews and Godworshippers. As a recrudescent type of the Messianic Judaism described in al-Kuzari and guided by the "Zera Yisrael", the religion began to spread again with the Sect of Zacharia ben Aharon ha-Cohen, a scholar from Kiev who taught in Novogorod but during the reign of Sophia Palaiologina by 1500 many fled Novogorod to Zacharia Ghisolfi in the Crimean Khanate since they were known as Karimi (Crimeans)After the Raskol (1666) the religion took root and grew among the otherwise Priestless Russian Sects of Spiritual Christianity but even the Crimean Karaites pretended to be of the same religion in 1795 when they asked Count Zubov to intercede for them to Catherine the Great. In the 19th century, Karaimites began to use the Minhag HaQaraim published by Polish Karaites in the Austrian Empire as a relationship with the Karaites blossomed. As a result of their relationship with the Karaites, Karaimites have respected the family of Avraam Firkovich (b.1786) to Josif Firkovich (d.2009) as Proper Karaimite-Subbotnik Russian Karaim. 

Karaimites were tolerated by Russian authorities as long as they did not attempt to convert Orthodox Christians so they targeted Sunnis for conversion instead. It is important to note that the term Russian Karaite means Karaimite and is not meant to refer to Karaite Jews in the territory of the former Russian Empire. Also Karaims were quite distinct from other Jews in their use of the Pater Noster and respect for Muhammad. Russian Authorities tell us the Karaimites grew illegally among communities surrounding the remnant from whom they were named Old Judaists (Persian "Jidi"), that means of the Babylonian Exile, who populated the Khazar Sea shores and who welcomed apostles from Jesus and respecting Muhammad but refused the Babylonian Talmud and were quite distinct from the Roman Judaeans. For that reason they were not only called Old Judaists but also sometimes Mohammedans. Adherents who did convert to Orthodox Judaism as "Subbotnik Jews" accepted Judah ben Tabbai's Yerushalmi Minhag of the Krymchaks and became overseers for the Karaimite-Subbotnik Noahites. 

During WW2 the Socialist Secularized-Sadducean Crimean Karaites collaborated with Nazis in the Holocaust against Karaimite-Subbotniks across Ukraine (Lutsk, Kiev, Babi Yar) even as far as Krasnodar. They are not a religious community of Proper Karaimite-Subbotnik Russian Karaims nor even as Part-Karaimite-Subbotnik Karimi-Karaitizers.

Besides being called Old Judaists because of their origin, Karaimites are also referred to as Karaite Subbotniks and Bezshapochniki because unlike Jews they do not wear Kippot. Karaimites believe in circumcising the foreskin of the heart and are uncircumcised except for ministers who may also be called Karaims or Karaites but such Karaimites are quite distinct from typical Karaite Jews. For example, Karaite Jews reject Kabbalah while Karaimites study it. Karaite Jews permit no Ger-Toshavs while Karaimites are mostly Ger-Toshavs. Karaimites believe in henosis-by-will-surrender and reject the idea of unique hypostatic union. Karaimites have no Moshia' but G-d and like Chabadniks do not wait for the Mashiakh. Karaimites, like Abraham and Moses, use Terabinth groves in the absence of a Kanesa. In fact, perhaps the only thing that Karaimites have in common with Karaite Judaism is in rejecting the Babylonian Talmud's interpretation of the Bible and in placing the Biblical narrative above Oral Torah (Sevel Ha-Yerushah). Karaimites follow the religion of the Karimi merchants who thanks to their belief in a Karaimite Mahmad, are described in the East West Report as "an ancient, local Lithuanian-Moslem ethnic and religious community". However,  it should be noted that Karaimites do not recognize Muhammad other than as a Martyred Hymnographic Missionary named after the Living Temple of G-d described in Ezekiel 24. Karaimites do not object to being called Muslims recognizing that most believers are blind, but neither object to being referred to as Christians accepting Jesus as Christ, nor as Iudei as for Karaimites, since all who believe in the the Messiah of David's Psalms are Iudei

When this Beith Deen was established all the Karaimites known to it had ancestry from the areas of the Former Russian Empire and given the origins of the religion it seemed appropriate to use the term "Russian Qaraim" instead of Karaimite. The Q was used instead of the K in order to approximate the original КЪ which was used in the Imperial pre-Bolshevik Russian language and to distinguish ourselves from the Turkic secular-socialist now Sadducean so-called "Karaimites" who sided with the Socialist Nationalists against us during WW2. The original founders of the Beth Din included no native English speakers but it has since been pointed out to us many times that the correct English terms and spellings are indeed Karaimites, Karaitizers, and Karaite Subbotniks as mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. For that reason and to avoid unnecessary confusion, the registered name of our organization, the "Central Spiritual Board of the Russian Qaraim Abroad" was meant to be understood as the "Central Spiritual Board of the Zera Yisrael Karaimite Abroad" being the central spiritual board for all Karaimites everywhere.

FAQs
Q. Do Russian Karaims follow the same religion as the Crimean Karaites?
A. Russian Karaims are named after the Crimean Karaites and there is mutual respect between them. However, unlike the Karaims of Crimea, Russian Karaims regard the Christ not just as a Tzadik or only Prophet but also as King, Messias and unawaited yet regard the Shirazi Muhammad as a Holy Man (Deacon) of Christ's Ecclesia and not an independent prophet of a new religion in his own right while the Sunni Muhammad is Pasul. For those reasons the religions can not be equated.
Q. Are Lithuanian Karaimai to be considered Proper Karaims or just Subbotnik Karaims? 
A. Lithuanian Karaims no longer practice circumcision so can no longer be considered as Proper Karaims but they can still be considered as a sort of Subbotnik-Karaimite sect.
Q. What is the difference between a proper Karaite Jew and a Karaim?
A. A Karaite Jew has been officially recognised as an ethnic Jew under the Palestinian (Yerushalim Shammuti) Minhag by an Orthodox Jewish Bet Din, but a Karaim will have to go through an orthodox Giyur Lechumra to be recognised as an ethnic Jew.


MEMBERSHIP
Just like any other spiritual societies Karaimites are likewise allowed to decline membership to people who support movements under a spirit which is contrary to the club's ideals. Membership requests should be made in writing to the Beit Deen.

The Beit Deen service to oversee Karaimite needs consists of Israeli Orthodox Krymchak and Subbotnik Jews in Judah ben Tabbai's Palestinian (Yerushalmi) Pharisee Minhag.


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