Rabbi Glickman introduces readers to a little-known treasure that shines a light on Jewish history. A genizah is a storage place for damaged Jewish religious documents. Any sacred text must be stored in a genizah or buried in a cemetery. The genizah of the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo, a city that once had a large, prosperous Jewish community, housed one of the world’s largest collections of documents. Glickman offers an overview of Jewish history, an introduction to the early scholars who explored this genizah, and an explanation of the various religious texts, some startling, found there. He then focuses on Rabbi Solomon Schechter, a shtetl scholar who became a Cambridge professor and, along with two intrepid Scottish sisters, studied these fascinating early manuscripts. Glickman brings the colorful story up to date with information about the post-Schechter work, the dispersal of the genizah’s collection to other libraries around the world, and the efforts to preserve and digitize the documents so that scholars everywhere can use them. Anyone who loves books and history will relish this. --Barbara Bibel
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"Gripping.... With descriptive flair, [this] is a page-turner, a fast-paced archaeological mystery, a globe-trotting adventure, and a wonderful story. Highly recommended!"
—Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University; president, Synagogue 3000; author, The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth
"Brings this adventure vibrantly to life, taking the reader on a fascinating journey…. Accessible and engaging … a great introduction to a complex story of scheming, scholarship, and sensation."
—Dr. Rebecca J. W. Jefferson, head of the Price Library of Judaica, University of Florida; former researcher, Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University
"Fascinating ... well researched and enthusiastic, [it] offers a wonderfully enjoyable introduction to a subject that deserves far more attention than it has received thus far."
—Donald P. Ryan, PhD, division of humanities, Pacific Lutheran University
“If there were a religious wonders of the world list, the Cairo Genizah would be near the top of it; and Rabbi Mark Glickman its indispensable—eloquent, wry and knowledgeable—guide.”
—Melissa Fay Greene, author, The Temple Bombing
“With an exhilarating enthusiasm and an eye for curious detail, Mark Glickman relates the tale of the recovery of this momentous archive and examines its impact on our interpretation of the Jewish past.”
—Ben Outhwaite, director, Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University
“Traces with page-turning enthusiasm the discovery, study, and significance of the Cairo Genizah. Recommended for Jewish studies classes, book groups, and synagogue adult study classes. A joy to read!”
—Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, professor of rabbinic literature, The Jewish Theological Seminary; author, Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from The Rabbis of the Talmud