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Karaite Separatism in Nineteenth-Century Russia
Joseph Solomon Lutski's Epistle of Israel's Deliverance

By Philip E Miller

Karaite Separatism in Nineteenth-Century Russia
Hardback, 272 pages £40.00
Published: 1993
ISBN: 9780878204151
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Series: Monographs of the Hebrew Union College

When the Karaites successfully dissociated themselves from the Rabbanite Russian Jews with the creation of the Karaite Religious Consistory in 1837, the result was a schism within Judaism unprecedented since the rise of Christianity. Philip E. Miller sets this event in the context of the history of the Russian Karaites from their origins to the present, focusing on economic and political concerns that led to the schism. The Karaites' separatism shielded them from the horrific fates suffered by the Rabbanites under the tsars, under Hitler, and under Stalin, but it ultimately led to their nearly complete assimilation and disappearance as a people. The central character in Miller's study is Simchah Babovich, a Crimean Karaite whose wealth and prominence enabled him to curry favor with the imperial Russian government. In 1827, Babovich traveled to St. Petersburg on behalf of the Karaite community and petitioned the tsar for exemption from military conscription legislation that applied to all Jews in the realm. Accompanying him on the journey was Joseph Solomon ben Moses Lutski, the leading Karaite religious scholar of Evpatoriia. Lutski's chronicle of the mission, the Iggeret teshu'at Yisrael (Epistle of Israel's Deliverance), is reprinted here as an annotated Hebrew text with English translation. In colorful detail, the Iggeret records the delegation's travel adventures, their activities as guests and tourists in the imperial capital, the swift granting of Babovich's request, and the Karaites' euphoric reaction when the successful petitioners arrived back home in Evpatoriia.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 272 pages

BIC Code:
  HIS022000, HIS037060, SOC049000
 Hebrew Union College Press


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