Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the benefits of online learning?
Is Conversion for You?
How does Karaite Judaism Differ from other Jewish
convert to Karaite Judaism, will I be eligible for immigration to Israel?
I am ‘Torah observant’ but believe that
Jesus of Nazareth was the biblical Messiah. Can I be a Karaite Jew?
I have recently
discovered that I am a member of the Ten Lost Tribes. Do I need to convert to
be a Karaite?
I am a gentile who accepts
the fundamentals of Karaism. Before formally converting I want to learn how to internalize Torah into my daily life. What do I do?
If I seek to convert, do I have to take
on a Hebrew name?
With the rapid growth of online learning
worldwide, more people are looking to see if it's right for them. Online
learning is an opportunity to connect to a community of fellow
students, and seasoned professionals in order to become
part of an exciting, media-rich learning environment. There is a schedule for class meetings
and rebroadcasts will be
available for a seven day period. Weekly reading, writing and study assignments are distributed with the syllabus
at the beginning of each session -- and from there, you work at your own pace,
at a time that's convenient for you. During the period of the course, you will
be required to attend a meeting with our Academic Staff in either New York or
Daly City and you will requested to attend a graduation/conversion ceremony as
Karaite Judaism is the movement of scholars who seek to understand the creator's
demands upon humanity through his written words in the TaNaKh, which is an
acronym for Torah (the Chumash or Five Books of Books), Nev'im (Prophets) and Ketu'vim (Holy writings). If you are
thinking about becoming a Karaite Jew, but you are not sure where to begin your search
KJU welcomes you and will offer you the resources you need along your journey.
To become a Karaite Jew, you will have to first complete a rigorous 1.5 year course.
Then all applicants are evaluated for attending the conversion.
Of course Jews from other branches within Judaism whose fathers are Jewish are
welcome to take this course as well and are free to become Karaite Jews at any time they can in good conscience accept the Karaite
declaration of faith (Tuv Ta'am.) Maybe the thought of sitting down with a
Hakham seems intimidating or you don`t know what questions you should be asking
him/her? Possibly you are interested in taking a class on Karaite Judaism but
you do not know where to find one. KJU was created to fill this void and to
provide the potential convert to Judaism with the resources to navigate this
sometimes confusing road.
has a long history of accepting converts; as we are reminded, the founders of
Judaism: Abraham and Sarah were both converts. Perhaps the most famous of all
biblical converts was Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David. In the time of
Ruth, however, conversion was a process much different from conversions of
today. Today, conversion to Judaism is a much more formal process that generally
includes a significant amount of study.
Karaite Judaism is a life-altering identity change that should not be taken
lightly but does not need to be an intimidating experience. Learning more about
Judaism would be an excellent first step in your conversion process. One can
launch this process by taking our online Introduction to Judaism class.
There are stylistic differences in the manner of prayer, the format of the
siddur and the names and observances of some of the Jewish holidays. These
differences have arisen because Karaite Judaism regards the TaNaKh as the only
divinely authored or inspired words of the Creator. Karaites maintain that
every human being has an obligation to study the Hebrew Scriptures and determine
for themselves the correct meaning ofיְהוָה
's commandments based on their own reasoning and understanding.
On the Day of Judgment it is the individual who will be called into reckoning
for his own actions. The
ancient adage of the Karaite sages declares: "Study, and search, and seek, and
investigate, and do that which occurs to by by way of solid proof and that which
seem reasonable to you..." Book of Precepts [Sefer Ha-misvot] Sahl ben
Masliah quoted in Karaite Anthology: Excerpts From the Early Literature,
Leon Nemoy, ISBN# 0-300-00792, p. 119. In this regard the Karaite sages
taught: "He who relies upon any of the teachers of the Exile without personal
investigation, it is as if he has engaged in idolatry."
Karaites place no value
in the interpretations of the majority or the customs of the forefathers. On the
contrary, Scripture teaches us: "Do not go after the majority to do evil"
(Exodus 23:2). The prophets also warn us against following in the errant
footsteps of the ancestors, as it is written:
"be not like your fathers. who acted treacherously against
(2 Chronicles [Bet Divrei HaYamim] 30:7), and again: "they shall not be as their
fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation" (Psalms 78:8). The same warning
applies to the laws invented out of men's hearts, which the prophets call the
"commandment of men learned by rote" (Isaiah 29:13).
I am not Jewish, but recognize YHVH
as the only true God.
What do I need to do in order to convert to Karaite Judaism?
In a strict biblical sense any
non-Jew who makes a vow accepting the God of Israel and the people of Israel
as their own has undergone a biblical conversion in the same manner as Ruth
the Moabite. However modern religious institutions have established have
further requirements to ensure that converts understand the Jewish faith and
are adequately educated before taking on this solemn vow. While these extra
requirements may not be required by the Torah, they are part of the reality we
must deal with in order for our converts to be recognized as full-fledged
It is generally a good idea to speak with a Karaite Hakham/Hakhamah (Hakham means
leader; wise person) or knowledgeable Karaite before committing to undergo a
conversion. Converting to Judaism is a
very serious step in one’s life. It is
whether a "conversion course" is even necessary and that one could just
'announce his/her own conversion.' To this view Hakham Meir Y. Rekhavi has
written: "...conversion to Judaism is not just a matter of
accepting YHWH and His Tora, but also a matter of attaching oneself to the
people of Yisrael, as the prophets mention on numerous occasions i.e. Isa.
56:3-8. Therefore part of one's conversion is to be recognized by Yisraelites
as being part of the Children of Yisrael."
In order to convert to Karaite Judaism you must first accept the
following fundamental principles of Karaism as expressed in the Karaite Confession:
I believe in YHWH
of Hosts as the only God, and renounce all others.
believe in the TaNaKh, the Hebrew Scripture, as the word of
and the only religious authority and declare that all other writings, creeds, and doctrines
are the words of men.
undertake to study and keep the TaNaKh, striving to interpret it according
to its "plain meaning."
4. Doing righteousness and justice, as said to Avraham
[Abraham] our father, peace be upon him: "For I have known him that he
will command his children and his family after him ‘and keep the way of
YHWH, to do righteousness and justice’" (Genesis 18:19).
6. Keeping the Ten Commandments.
Additionally, the Council of
Sages will be required to review and approve each of our students prior to
their conversion. A Bet Din will be appointed under the auspices of a
Karaite Synagogue and the Certificate of Conversion will be signed by the
Bet Din and the Chief Rabbi of Universal Karaite Judaism (UKJ) and
maintained at their offices in Ramle, Israel.
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I convert to Karaite Judaism, will I be eligible for immigration to Israel?
Karaites Jews are recognized as
Jews by the State of Israel. Since the early days of the State, tens of
thousands of Karaite Jews have made Aliyah to Israel. Until recently, the State
of Israel only recognized converts from the Orthodox branch of Judaism for
purposes of Aliyah. However, in recent years the Supreme Court of Israel has
ruled that the State is required to accept converts from all branches of Judaism
for Aliyah. As a result, hundred of converts from the Reform and Conservative
movements have made Aliyah in recent years. The KJU staff has consulted with the
top legal experts in Israel and they have assured us that this Supreme Court
ruling applies to Karaite Jews just as much as it applies to Reform,
Conservative and other branches of Judaism. Therefore, we believe that those who
convert after completing a KJU Introduction to Judaism course will be accepted
for Aliyah, although we must point out that this has not been tested in practice
Please note that completion of the KJU Introduction to Judaism course does not
automatically make one eligible for conversion. Conversion is done by the
Karaite Jews of America based in Daly City, CA and must be pre-approved by the
Karaite Jewish Council of Sages in Ramlah, Israel. The Council of Sages has
authorized the KJU to teach the Introduction to Judaism course to prepare
candidates for conversion. However, this does not guarantee that all those who
complete the course will be approved for conversion.
I am ‘Torah
observant’ but believe that Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) was the biblical Messiah. Can I
be a Karaite Jew?
Anyone who believes in Jesus, Yeshua,
Yahshua, or the man from Nazareth by any other name, invariably gets his
information about this person from the collection of writings commonly known as
the ‘New Testament’. Karaites by definition only believe in the Tanach and
therefore someone who believes in Jesus could not be a Karaite. To understand
why Karaites do not believe in Jesus, please see
I have recently discovered that I am a member of
the Ten Lost Tribes. Do I need to convert to be a Karaite?
Yes. Throughout history many Israelites assimilated into the nations of their
captivity, thereby becoming ‘lost’. However, none of these lost groups today can prove
conclusively that their ancestors were Israelites.
Formal conversion is
necessary in such circumstances.
I am a
gentile who accepts the fundamentals of Karaism. Before formally converting I
want to learn more about how to internalize Torah into my daily life. What do I
If after reviewing the
materials in this presentation, and the
materials on the website of the Hakham Meir Rekhavi site:
http://rekhavi.karaitejudaism.org or the
Karaite Jews of America site:
http://www.Karaites.org. If you desire to become a Karaite Jew please email us at: