The Karaite Korner

New Moon Report
Crescent New Moon Sightings

This page contains reports of actual New Moon sightings from Israel and is updated every month. The Biblical month begins with the Crescent New Moon, or First Visible Sliver, seen from Israel.

Karaite Korner Newsletter #478

Proclaiming the Name on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is coming up this Sunday night September 19 at sunset and will continue for 24 hours until Monday night September 20 at sunset. To learn more about Yom Kippur please visit the Karaite Korner study.

Back on Thursday September 9, 2010 we looked for the new moon but as previously reported the moon was not sighted anywhere in Israel on that evening, and was only visible the following evening on Friday September 10. During the attempted sighting on Thursday September 9, the night the moon was not visible, I took a series of photos from my observation point on Mount Hezekiah in the Eilat Mountains. Recently Dr. Roy Hoffman, a chemistry researcher at the Hebrew University, managed to identify the sliver of the moon in one of these photos. Here are the main points of Dr. Hoffman's analysis:

As was stated previously, the Moon was not seen from Israel last Thursday 9th September 2010. However, upon analyzing Nehemia Gordon's photographs from Mt. Hezkiyahu an image of the Moon appeared exactly in the expected place and orientation. The image appears in all three color channels and does not appear in other photographs, ruling out an artifact in the camera sensor. The photograph proves that the Moon was there but that it was too faint to see with the naked eye. The picture is similar to the one that I took four years ago.

Dr. Hoffman's full statement is available here.

Here is the photo with Dr. Hoffman's enhancements:

Roy Hoffman Enhanced Image

To be honest, I had trouble seeing the moon on the photo without Dr. Hoffman's enhancements and had to view the image at full-size to do so. You can try for yourself in this full-size excerpt of the original photo below. By the way, the barbed wire in the foreground is the border between Israel and Egypt:

Invisible New Moon on 10 September 2010

Every year on Yom Kippur I think back on the tragic events of 1973. On October 6, the rabbinical day of Yom Kippur that year, Israel was invaded by Egypt and Syria. Israeli forces had been massed on the borders for weeks awaiting an Arab attack, but many soldiers went home to observe the fast and the army was caught off guard. More Israeli boys died on that first day of the war than on any other day in the history of modern Israel. Egyptian forces quickly overcame the Bar Lev line on the east bank of the Suez Canal and Syrian forces wiped out the cream of the Israeli tank forces in the Golan Heights. The Israeli counter-attack did not begin until October 8, the biblical date of Yom Kippur based on the sighting of the new moon. On that day, Israel overwhelmed the navies of the Arab armies, managed to stop the Egyptian advance in Sinai, and began to push the Syrians out of the Golan Heights. It would be another 17 of fierce fighting before the war ended with Israeli forces looming on the outskirts of Cairo and Damascus, but it was on the biblical date of Yom Kippur according to the sighting of the new moon that things started to turn around in that fateful October of 1973.

One of the special things about Yom Kippur is that the high priest used to proclaim the name YHVH ten times during the Temple service. According to early rabbinical sources describing the service in the Second Temple:

"The multitudes would stand in the courtyard and when they heard the explicit name coming out of the mouth of the high priest they used to kneel and prostrate, fall on their faces, and say, 'Blessed is the glorious name of his kingdom forever.'" (Mishnah, Yoma 6:2)

Today some Jews believe the name must not be spoken any more. Others continue the biblical practice of using the name. All are agreed that when the Messiah comes and restores the Temple, the high priest will once again proclaim the name in the Temple on Yom Kippur. Take a few moments this Yom Kippur to learn how to proclaim the name of our Creator in the original Hebrew as the high priest used to do in times of old. Keith Johnson has recorded a wonderful video with ten combinations of the name and accompanying titles.

Have a successful fast!

Nehemia Gordon
Jerusalem, Israel

Karaite Korner Newsletter #477

New Moon Report
September 2010
Seventh Biblical Month
Part 2

On September 10, 2010 the new moon was sighted from Israel. The moon was first sighted:

  • from Jerusalem by David Cachicas at 6:38pm and then shortly thereafter by Rick Busenbark, Klaus Binder, Yoel Halevy, Nehemia Gordon, and Devorah Gordon.
  • from Ariel by Frank Mecklenburg and Charlotte Mecklenburg at 6:45pm;
  • *from Kefar Eldad by Bruce Brill at 6:53pm and then shortly thereafter by Hen-el Brill;
  • *from Mevasert by Tekiyah Chavah at 7:00pm and then shortly thereafter by Ariel Chavah;
  • *from Hadera by Deborah Boer at 7:05pm.

    Friday night and Saturday day is the beginning of the new biblical month and the festival of Yom Teruah. Pictures of the new moon of Yom Teruah sighted from Jerusalem are posted at:

    A special Yom Teruah greeting with Keith Johnson blowing the shofar against the background of the new moon of Yom Teruah over Jerusalem is posted at:

    Moadim Le-Simchah!
    Happy Appointed Times!

    Nehemia Gordon
    Jerusalem, Israel

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