Crimean Karaites

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The Crimean Karaites (Crimean Karaim: sg. къарай - qaray, pl. къарайлар - qaraylar; Trakai Karaim: sg. karaj, pl. karajlar, Hebrew קָרָאִים - qara'im, 'readers', tr. Karaylar), also known as Karaim and Qarays, are a community of ethnic Turkic adherents of Karaite Judaism in Eastern Europe. "Qaray" is a Romanized spelling of the original name "къарай", while "Karaim" is a Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Polish name for the community. Originally centered in Crimea, Karaim were established in Lithuania and elsewhere in Europe from late medieval times.

The name "Crimean Karaites" has often been considered as something of a misnomer, as many branches of this community found their way to locations throughout Europe and the Middle East. Historians distinguish between Karaite Jews and Jews who simply left the Levant before the canonization of the Talmud and therefore had no way of being Rabbinic Jews. Whether descended from the non-Rabbinic sects of the Second Temple Period, or from Rabbinate families rebelling against Talmudic rules, these communities started in present day Iran.

As time went on, some of these communities spread throughout the region, one of which was Crimea. Nevertheless this name, "Crimean Karaites" is used for the Turkic-speaking Karaite community which originated in Crimea to distinguish it from historically Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic-speaking Karaites of the Levant, Anatolia, and...
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