Genizah Update #15: Home Again
March 11, 2010
Well, I’ve been back home for a few days now, and I am finally feeling a sense of recovery from my travels. Many thanks to you all for your continued enthusiasm and support. It is a real inspiration to me.
Now, of course, the big piece of unfinished business is actually writing the book…and my June submission deadline looms dark. However, I’m about 80% done with my first draft, so I think I should be OK. Or at least I hope so.
Attached is an excerpt from one of the later chapters of the book. It describes part of my visit to the Cambridge Library. As always, I would welcome any feedback you care to offer. Please don’t hesitate to be brutal – brutal feedback tends to be the only kind that helps.
That said, I would like to add a few caveats:
· Of course, this still just a draft, so I apologize ahead of time for the lack of polish.
· The final version of the chapter will contain more - and more interesting – pictures. They forbade taking pictures in the library, and I had to pay their photographer to take some photos for me. The disc, I am told, is on its way, and should arrive soon.
· Many of the documents I describe seeing will have been discussed earlier in the book. So if some of what I say doesn’t make sense, let’s hope that it will in the context of the final version.
· Thanks in advance for your comments.
Expedition Genizah T-Shirts
I mentioned in an early e-mail that these would be available for sale. And now they are. For just $20, you can have this lovely T-Shirt (image attached). It is the latest thing in Genizah fashion. In fact, it was designed by the famous clothing designer and synagogue executive director, Larry Glickman…who also happens to be my little brother. The few dollars in proceeds that we earn from each shirt will go into our Genizah fund and be forwarded to one of the institutions now housing Genizah documents.
I am now in a position to take orders. If are interested, please email me size and quantities. If I need to mail it to you, there may be an added shipping cost.
As I mentioned, on my expedition I saw first-hand not only the important work that various libraries are now doing to care for these manuscripts, but also how much more support they need. With the remaining funds, I hope to support the following two projects:
· Fighting the Acid
Many of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s 35,000 Genizah manuscripts are being eaten away even as we speak. When the Seminary received them in the 1920’s, the came encased in clear PVC plastic sleeves – made from the same material as some of the plumbing pipes in our homes. What they weren’t aware of then, and what we know now, is that PVC contains acids that, over time, eat away at the paper it touches. As a result, there is a real danger that these priceless manuscripts will one day simply disintegrate. I hope to seed a project that will allow these to be re-encased in more modern, archivally-sound, coverings.
· Preserving the New Old Documents
As I mentioned in a previous update, just a couple of years ago the Cambridge University Library received a collection of 7,000 documents from the Cairo Genizah that had never before been fully examined. They had been gathered in the early 20th century by a wealthy Jew from Cairo named Jack Mosseri, and had remained in a trunk owned by his family ever since. Now, the documents are being painstakingly unpacked and preserved. The work is so slow that conservators can only process ten or so manuscripts each day – at this rate, it will take a few years to process the entire collection. This is an off-budget project for the library, so they need to raise the funds for this work separately. I hope to help support their work as generously as possible.
If you can, please give generously, and forward me your donations at your convenience:
Rabbi Mark Glickman
15030 232nd Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA 98077