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The Karaite synagogue service

The building that is known as the Karaite synagogue, Karaites themselves call a kenasa or Bet ha-Knesset, which means the House of Assembly.

The Interior of a kenasa consists of a large room, which is divided into three sections, that are not separated from each other.

The parts of the kenasa are:

1) The raised section in front of the Aron ha-Kodesh (the closet which contains the Torah scrolls) where the Hazzan performs worship.

2) The section for the members of the community.

3) The section with the benches for the elderly and ill people (Moshav zekenim, it means the seating of elders). Above this place is the women's section, the women watch the ongoing worship from behind the lattice windows and for this reason they are invisible to the praying men. The ground floor which is the main part of the kenasa is covered with carpets the same as the women's section. This is because a fundamental part of worship for the members of Karaite community is to pray on the knees in accordance with the ancient tradition.

The kenasa is currently equipped with benches and also a larger part of the place for members of the community. There is a smaller part of the place for members of the community without benches which is intended for those community members who wish to remain faithful to the ancient tradition of the Karaites. The performance of all these ancient prayer acts is currently obligatory only to the Hazzan (who leads the worship).

It is forbidden to enter into the 1) and 2) section of the kenasa with shoes, the shoes must be left in the corridor of the kenasa. This custom is derived from the text of the Torah, which describes the revelation of God to Moses on Mount Horeb, as it is written: And He said: Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground(2M 3:5)

At this time the custom is not to keep the community members who sit on the benches.

In the kenasa it is forbidden to depict plants or animals.

Decorative lamps, chandeliers, candlesticks, and decorations in the shape of crowns (keter) are used for decorations that adorn the frontal part over the Holy Ark between the eastern and the western wall. They are inscribed with citations of Holy Scripture written in large gold letters.
During worship Karaites stand with their face to the south (Crimea is north of Jerusalem - translators note), because the Aron ha-Kodesh is on the south.

We know that in the Tent of Assembly of Moses and in the Temple of Solomon the Sanctuary Kodesh ha-Kodashim was located in the western part. 

Therefore the Aron ha-Kodesh must be placed in the west side of the kenasa.

Karaite scholars chose the cardinal point which the believers should turn their faces to during their prayers based on the prophet Daniel, who prayed with his face to the windows that were directed towards Jerusalem.

And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, now his windows were open in his upper chamber towards Jerusalem and he knelt upon his knees three times a day, and he prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. (Daniel 6:11)

Jerusalem is in the south in the perspective of most of the countries where Karaites live (at the beginning of the 20th century the majority of Karaites lived in the Russian Empire - translators note).  Karaite scholars were also influenced by King Solomon's prayer that he uttered when the construction of the Temple was complete.
If they return unto Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray unto Thee towards their land, which Thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name. (1 Kings 8:48)
Karaites do not have not clerics.
Worship can be led by anyone who has good knowledge of biblical Hebrew, the language of Karaite prayers, anyone who is familiar with the prayer rites and who is known for his good manners, no matter whether he was officially appointed Hazzan by the authorities.

The person who leads Karaite worship wears a simple garment.
It's a long and broad scarf made of white silk or linen, with long blue tassels on its four corners and with a wide ribbon that contains a gold-embroidered verse of Holy Scripture, or the name of the person who donated the prayer shawl.
This prayer shawl is called a tallit.
Other community members wear tzitzit while praying which is the same as tallit but it is only folded a few times. It falls over the shoulders so the ends of it reach almost to the knees, the fringes are strung on the little fingers of both hands.
The Karaites consider this as the fulfilling of the commandment that is in two passages of the Five Books of Moses, namely in the Fourth Book of Moses (Numbers) in Chapter 15, verses 38-40.

Speak unto the children of Israel and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Eternal, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God.

And also in the Fifth Book of Moses (Deuteronomy), in Chapter 22, verse 12.

Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

In the literal sense fringes (tzitzit) should be placed on the common, daily clothes of each Son of Israel.

The target of this commandment is clearly contained in the words of the Law: that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of YHWH, and do them.

Therefore, tzitzit should be an integral part of the garments of all followers of the Law of Moses, as can be seen among the Orthodox Talmudists.

The usage of tzitzit has a relevance especially in everyday life when one's mind is busy by earthly issues, it has lower importance in the time of prayer when the mind is filled with a spiritual atmosphere and when our mind is directed to God even without tzitzit and when we fulfill His commandments.

It must be noted that many Karaites do not wear tzitzit even in times of prayer.

Services are held twice a day, in the morning and the evening.

The beginning of worship is determined by sunrise and sunset.

The time of the morning service is based on the lifestyle of our forefathers, on the lifestyle that was in tune with nature.

Our forefathers got up and started their daily work very soon.

According to their point of view, it was also the time when the angels praise God, as indicated in the book of Job 38:7 - When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

Currently, as a result of lifestyle changes we begin the morning service later.

On Saturdays and during other feasts, we do not start worship earlier than eight or nine o'clock in the morning.