This study is dedicated to the Karaite intellectuals of Eastern Europe, their literary creativity, and above all their historical reflections, some of which were for centuries lost to the world and consigned to archival oblivion. This work is premised on my doctoral thesis, which I pursued under the guidance of Prof. Israel Bartal and Prof. Haggai Ben-Shammai, both of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
I am both obliged and pleased to express my gratitude to my teachers, my colleagues, and my friends for their assistance in the preparation of this study and for giving freely of their time and knowledge to further my work, both in personal conversations and in written correspondence. Namely, in alphabetical order, I express my thanks to Israel Bartal, Michael Beizer, Yaron Ben Naeh, Menahem Ben-Sasson, Haggai Ben-Shammai, Michael Ezer, Zeev Gries, Joseph R. Hacker, Gershon D. Hundert, Shimon Iakerson, Mikhail Kizilov, Daniel J. Lasker, Pinhas Levkovich, Leah Makovetsky, Helena Rimon, Dan Shapira, Shaul Stampfer, and Guy G. Stroumsa, and I am deeply grateful to all of the above for providing advice, making themselves available for discussion, giving me inspiration, and offering me their support.
I owe a particular debt of gratitude to the staff of the libraries and archives where I worked over the years, whose work facilitated my happy discovery of a wealth of treasures. I am especially grateful to Olga Vasilyeva, the curator of the Oriental Section of the Manuscript Department in the National Library of Russia, and its librarian Boris Zaykovsky, without whose committed assistance I would have been unable to access all of the critical materials that allowed me to prepare this study. I also extend thanks to Yael Okun, acting director of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts at the National Library of Israel, for her assistance and advice.
I was the fortunate recipient of assistance from many people during the years in which I pursued my research. Many heartfelt thanks to the Israel Science Foundation, which provided me with invaluable access to manuscripts as a participant in its program for the study of Eastern European Karaite intellectuals in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (no. 28.07), directed by Prof. Lasker. Another project funded by
I am also much indebted to the editors of this series, Meira Polliack and Michael Wechsler, for their dedicated assistance and personal involvement throughout the preparation of this book. Beyond accepting this work for publication in the
I would also like to express my thanks to Meghan Connolly and to the entire team at Brill Academic Publishers for their diligent work in working through the various issues relating to the production of this book.
Finally, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to the Binah Nemoy Memorial Publication Fund of Yale University—their financial support has been critical in enabling the translation of the Hebrew original of this work* into the present, expanded English version.
Any remaining errors and inaccuracies which may be found in this book are solely my own responsibility.
It is my hope that the publication of this study will broaden and enrich enlightened discourse on Karaism both within academia and more generally in the realm of modern Jewish culture.
Golda Akhiezer, Tōdāʿā hīsṭōrīt, Haśkālā ū-lĕ’ummiyyūt bĕ-kerev Qārāʾē Mizraḥ Ērōppā (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 2016).