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LABANOS (Labanowski ), leading *Karaite family of *Troki, Lithuania. The post of shofet (judge and communal leader) of the community became hereditary in the family. In 1665 abraham ben samuel labanos was elected as gabbai of Troki and later became shofet of the Karaites of Troki (1671–88). The Karaite scholar M. *Sultansky describes him as a learned man, much favored by King Jan iii Sobieski, who appointed him to the leadership of all the Karaites in Lithuania. In 1688, at the king's order, Abraham and some Karaite families were forced to settle in Kukizow (Krasny Ostrow), a private possession of the Sobieskis. During his years of office in Troki, the community was involved in difficult negotiations with the Council of Lithuanian Jewry (see *Councils of the Lands) regarding the poll tax which the Karaites were to pay. Abraham often took part in the deliberations of the council and endeavored to obtain relief for his community. His son samuel succeeded him as shofet in Troki, serving from 1719–45/6?. He was a disciple of the Karaite scholar *Solomon b. Aaron and married his sister in 1738. Samuel was in conflict with the members of his community, who revolted against his leadership because of the high taxes.

Samuel's son, abraham ben samuel (ii) labanos (d. 1776), was in turn shofet of the Troki Karaite community in 1746–76. He was a nephew and disciple of the Karaite scholar Solomon b. Aaron, who wrote Rakh va-Tov, a grammatical treatise, in his honor. Being pressed by gentile creditors, he went to the Crimea to obtain some monetary aid for the community in 1756 with letters of recommendation from both the rabbinical court of Vilna and the rabbis and communal officials of Brest-Litowsk and Lutsk. He endeavored to defend the interests of his community, but he frequently encountered the opposition of some of its members, who held him responsible for their economic difficulties. He is mentioned in documents as having lodged charges against some Polish noblemen, which instigated an attack on the Karaite quarter in 1772.

His son samuel (d. 1805/6?) was shofet of the community in 1776–93. To enforce obedience to his rules he twice turned to the aid of the wojewoda (governor) of Troki.


Fuerst, Karaeertum, 3 (1869), 85, 95; Mann, Texts, 2 (1935), 614–9, s.v.Abraham b. Samuel Labanos and Abraham b. Samuel ha-Shofeti; Lurie, in: He-Avar, 1 (1918), 166ff.; Bałaban, in: Nowe Życie (July–Nov. 1924). add. bibliography: S. Gliorowski, in: Żydzi i judaizm, vol. 2 (1998), 73–81.

[Mark Wischnitzer /

Golda Akhiezer (2nd ed.)]