Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Expedition Genizah 2010, Update # 6: The Final Countdown
Only Four Days Left!

February 16, 2010

Hello Everyone,

The schedule continues to get finalized, the suitcases are open and ready, and we’ve gotten all of our shots. Expedition Genizah will soon begin!

This will be the final update before Jacob and I leave on our trip, and I hope it will be briefer than its predecessors. That said, I am a rabbi, and in my line of work verbosity is a professional hazard.

Expedition Genizah in Cyberspace

• The Blog

With some trepidation as to my technological limitations, I have opened a blog about this trip:

As of now, all that I’ve posted on the blog are the updates I’ve been sending you – I haven’t even figured out how to link to the attachments. If any of you have suggestions as to how I might spiff it up, please feel free to let me know. This blogosphere place is a new and foreign world for me, and I would welcome any help you could offer.

• Facebook

Also, Jacob tells me that he has opened a Facebook fan page about our trip. I’m not a Facebook person, but I am confident that you who are will be able to find the page that Jacob has set up.

Media Coverage

• The first news article about my trip and book appeared this weekend in the Bainbridge Island Review: Although it gets several of the details wrong, it does give a good sense of the spirit of the project.

• Also, I have been approached by a reporter from PRI’s The World, a nationally syndicated public radio news program, who wants to do a story about the trip and my project after I return. Keep watching for updates.

Fun Stuff to Read

• Jacob recently received some questions about our trip from a reporter. For a variety of reasons, his answers didn’t get included in the story, but I found Jacob’s response to be articulate, inspirational, and touching. I’ve attached them to this email as “Thoughts on an Expedition.”

• Among the many groups in which I am blessed to participate is an interfaith association called “Northshore Interfaith Leaders.” At our most recent meeting, the group gave me a wonderful sendoff –a delightful “Bon Voyage” card, a generous donation to the project, and kind words of encouragement.

Then, to top it off, Ken Williams, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, pulled out his ukulele and sang the song I’ve attached as “Ghost Rabbi in the Sky.” You can read the words for yourself, but know that my favorite lyric in it is:

For whether it's for manuscripts, or corn when hunger's strong,
When Jews head for Egypt, their stay can be quite long.

As I told Ken later, I am pretty confident that I’m the only rabbi in history ever to be sent off to Egypt by Mormon playing a ukulele. It was terrific!

Most Important of all, Thank You!

A complete set of acknowledgements will appear in my book, but I have been utterly overwhelmed by the support so many of you have shown. Now that I am on the eve of my departure, I would be remiss not to express my gratitude.

• First, I thank the members of Congregations Kol Shalom and Kol Ami. Not only have many of you been financially supportive of this project, but, even more important, the enthusiasm you have shown for it has energized and inspired me. I am grateful for your ongoing support. The interest you have taken in this project and the blessings you have given to my participation in it make me proud beyond words to know and work with you, and I hope that this work will only add to my ability to serve as your rabbi.

• I also thank the many people who have helped me prepare for my upcoming trip. The complete list would be too long to include here, but a few people have given of themselves in particularly generous ways. Many thanks to Jere Bacharach, Barbara Fudge, Sara Perez Kemp, Michael Strong, and “Dr. Shaloha” (you know who you are).

• Most of all, thanks are due to my wife, Caron. She has tolerated my months-long obsession with this project, encouraged me when I needed it most, and has somehow remembered that she, and not some lady named Genizah, is the woman I love most of all. Words could never adequately express how grateful I am for her presence in my life.

• Finally, I thank all of you for your ongoing interest and support. It is your interest that energizes me in my work. Together, I like to think that we are opening the Genizah and letting its people come out of the dust to join us today. This process is, in the words of Solomon Schechter, “an act of resurrection in miniature,” it is a true mitzvah; and I feel honored to be able to perform it with you.

And now, with gratitude to you all, I’m off to the Cairo Genizah. Thank you once again.


Rabbi Mark S. Glickman


Donations may be sent to:

Rabbi Mark Glickman
15030 232nd Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA 98077

These funds will be used to cover costs for writing the book; additional monies will be donated to organizations housing and caring for the documents of the Cairo Genizah.

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