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Sacred Treasure - The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic
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Sacred Treasure - The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In 1896, Rabbi Solomon Schechter of Cambridge University stepped into the attic of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo and there found the largest treasure trove of mediaeval and early manuscripts ever discovered. He had entered the synagogue's genizah - its repository for damaged and destroyed Jewish texts - which held nearly 300,000 individual documents, many of which were o ...more
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Jewish Lights Publishing
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I found this on the "new" display at the library. It looks like a dry read but it is anything but. The author is a fabulous writer and at times it reads like an adventure novel. You get a solid grounding in Jewish history along with an introduction to Jewish religious documents and a healthy dose of library science. Recommended to anyone with an interest in old books, Jewish history or liturgy.
Maggie Anton
Interesting that both this book and Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza were published almost simultaneously in 2011, so I decided to read them both back to back. Both detail [and I do mean detail] the history of the discovery of the Cairo Geniza, a repository for old Jewish manuscripts. But both books are more a history of the scholars who worked on the geniza manuscripts than on the geniza itself and the amazing things they found there.

One would never know from this book
This is a very good book, worth even four stars, if it weren't for the author's extremely weak conclusion. More on that later.

The book tells the story of how the Cairo Genizah was discovered, and reviews the 100+ year history of its research. The author does a good job of introducing the various scholars and researchers as well as telling us about the various obstacles the needed to be overcome. He also has a slight humorous touch, which is always good in a book.

However, pages 226-227 in the con
I've known about the Cairo Genizah for so many years that I can't even remember where I first heard about it. But my knowledge was slim. I knew that it was discovered by Solomon Schechter. I knew it was one of the most important discoveries of old Jewish documents in the modern age but I had never heard an in-depth account of the discovery itself or of the details of its contents and its significance. In fact, I am amazed that it has taken a hundred years for such a book to be written. Thank you ...more
I thought this was pretty interesting, but it's not quite what I expected. Glickman talks mainly about how the Cairo Genizah was rediscovered and who ended up with which pieces, which is certainly a good story; I think I was really just hoping for more on what impact the actual contents have had on the Jewish community and why they're important, which he does touch on, but not in much depth. I'm also torn on what to think of him as a narrator--when he's in good form, he reads very well, and for ...more
Melody Curtiss
Extremely readable and fascinating recount of the ancient documents stored away in a temple attic and how they relate to sacred writings and practices of monotheists in present times. The author provides historical context and connects the dots to enlighten the reader on how those writings evolved. Glickman's love for the intricacies and realities of religious development and sense of personal connection as he examines these ancient scrolls, notes and manuscripts is obvious.
Fascinating retelling of the history of the Cairo Genizah, the 19th century Hebrew manuscript market, the adventurous people who traveled far to buy and find rare manuscripts as well as the scholars who invested so many hours pouring over the treasures of the past. Mark Glickman gives a compelling historical overview bringing scholars like Solomon Schechter to life and paying due homage to the continued efforts of scholars to preserve and interpret the treasures of Jewish daily life and rabbinic ...more
Dec 16, 2014 Ellen added it
Shelves: jewish-history
The title should really be "The Story of the Men Who Published Work on the Cairo Genizah," because there is very little about the actual Cairo Genizah "treasures" in this book - and the contents are the most interesting part of the story. Hopefully someone will publish that work at a non-scholarly level...we can dream.
An interesting history of an important find of medieval Jewish documents. The book focuses more on the scholars who found and interpreted the documents, with tantalizing descriptions of the subject matter.
William Matthies
Written by the Rabi son of a friend of mine who said there is a bit of Indiana Jones to it. He was right and you will enjoy reading it as much as what you learn.
Loved it, a true adventure story with so much new and interesting information. Very easy to read. Loved the personalities of the scientists involved.
what a fascinating book.
Stephen Ross
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Feb 19, 2015
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