Karaites - Sociopolitical Organization

The leader of a Karaite community was the hakham. The house of prayer, called a kinessa, was headed by two hazzanim who had a helper ( shamash ) . Religious schools ( midrash ) , operated in the communities. Before the 1917 Revolution, Karaite communities were managed by the Karaite religious governing body (formed in 1837), and by the Trok governing body, which split off from it in 1863. After the Revolution the majority of the Karaite community in Soviet Russia was destroyed. In Poland an organized Karaite life still existed in the period between the world wars. At the present time there is a kinessa at Trok, in which about twenty believers assemble at major holidays.

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