In the neighborhood: A ring of green neon light, hanging from a mosque minaret illuminates dark, densely packed alleys of the old city of Ramla. Further in the background, the watchtower of the city’s iconic Franciscan monastery rises above a sea of one-story houses and floodlit date trees.
Venue: An expansive lawn and garden, dotted by towering date trees, and partially covered in a wooden deck, is surrounded by an ancient stone wall. Inside the hall, LED video walls flash ever-changing images on the few dozen white-clothed tables.
Simcha: Oded and Almog’s wedding
Number of guests: ~300
A brief history of time: Oded, 27, a car appraiser, is the only child of Eli and Shulamit Levy, raised in a secular Karaite in Ramle, one of the biggest centers for Karaite Judaism in the country. Almog, 20, a kindergarten teacher, was born to Rivka and Rahamim Shukrun, the fourth of five children, raised in Jerusalem by a Karaite mother and a Rabbinical Jewish father. Both Oded and Almog will be getting married without their fathers, having lost them both - Eli and Rahamim - to illness in the last few years.
Karaite Judaism: A Jewish movement, unrecognized by mainstream, or Rabbinic Judaism, characterized by what it considers to be a literal interpretation of the laws of the Torah. As part of this reading of Jewish holy texts, Karaite Jews do not recognize later interpretations and additions, such as those codified in the Mishnah and the Talmud, and, as a result do not recognize the authority of Rabbinic Judaism.
As a result, Karaite Jews do not follow the same customs as Rabbinic Jews, such as tefillin, prayers in Aramaic, and don’t celebrate holidays that aren’t mentioned in the Torah, such as Hanukkah.
Once a major sect within Judaism, their numbers have dwindled considerably throughout the years, with the largest community residing in Israel and made up mainly of men and women of Egyptian or Iraqi extraction.