Sacred Treasure ─The Cairo Genizah
The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History - a presentation by Author & Rabbi Mark Glickman
Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
BJE Jewish Community Library • 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco
In 1896, Rabbi Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University stepped into the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, and found the largest treasure trove of medieval and early manuscripts ever discovered. In February 2010, Rabbi Mark Glickman also climbed up the ladder to the synagogue’s genizah, the repository for damaged and destroyed Jewish texts. Although the room was now empty, his visit was the culmination of his research into the Cairo Genizah, which held nearly 300,000 individual documents, including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, documents from Maimonides (Rambam) in his own handwriting, early manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, and other sacred literature.
Why was this enormous collection amassed, how was it discovered, and what are the many lessons to be found in its contents? Schechter’s find, though still being “unpacked” today, forever transformed our knowledge of the Jewish past, Islamic history, and much more. The importance of the genizah’s contents rivals that of the Rosetta Stone; the documents and fragments are considered among the most important discoveries in modern religious history.
Rabbi Mark Glickman
is the author of Sacred Treasure : The Cairo Genizah
. A popular speaker on Judaism and modern life, he serves as rabbi of Washington Congregations Kol Ami in Woodinville and Kol Shalom on Bainbridge Island. Rabbi Glickman writes a regular religion column for the Seattle Times