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ABRAHAM SHOFEṬ (BEN SAMUEL):

A Karaite leader; lived in Poland at the end of the seventeenth century. He was a favorite of King John Sobieski (1674-96), and largely instrumental in the foundation of Karaite colonies in the neighborhood of Lemberg, Galicia. According to a Hebrew manuscript concerning the Karaites in Poland, it was King John Sobieski who conceived the plan of these colonies, and in 1688 ordered Abraham Shofeṭ to issue invitations to several Karaite families in Lithuania and the Crimea to settle in Galicia. Many from Troki complied, and on them grants and privileges were bestowed as well as communal autonomy. As to the surname Shofeṭ ("Judge"), Neubauer surmises that the ḥakam, or spiritual leader, of the Lithuanian Karaites was clothed with judicial authority.

Bibliography:
  • Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek, pp. 71, 72;
  • Fürst, Gesch. d. Karäert. iii. 85.
M. B.
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