It has been several weeks since I last updated you on the progress of my book about the Cairo Genizah – that’s because I have been busy writing it. My June 1 manuscript deadline is looming darker and darker.
The good news is that, at about 10:30 last night, I completed the first draft of the book! 101,655 words, 377 pages, of pure Genizah Goodness! There is still a lot more work to do, of course – major clean-up of the manuscript, photograph permissions, acknowledgement writing, and even a couple more interviews. But I finally have the raw material I need to begin sculpting what I hope will become a well-polished book.
Now, the writing can really begin.
The many suggestions I received from you were all very helpful. I shared some of them with the publisher, I had a couple of conversations about them with the editor, and then they told me what the title will be:
SACRED TREASURE: THE CAIRO GENIZAH
The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic
I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but I have to admit that it’s growing on me – especially since the title will effectively been the first line, with the second something of a throwaway description.
Then, last week, the publisher sent me these two drafts of the cover. I’m sure that whichever one they decide to use will be tweaked before publication, but seeing a real book cover made the whole thing feel very tangible and very exciting. It was especially a thrill to see that the cover included the two “G-Words” – Genizah, and Glickman!
I’m partial to the sand-colored one myself, but some of the teens in my house noted that they’d probably be drawn to the blue more readily than to the beige. Your comments, as always, would be most welcome.
Give it Up for the Genizah!
The more I read, the more aware I become of how important it is to support the people and institutions now caring for the Genizah manuscripts. As one example, most of the 30,000-35,0000 documents at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York are stored in PVC plastic – the same stuff they make our pipes out of, albeit in transparent, paper-thin form. PVC was the standard material used for manuscript storage when JTS received its collection in the 1920’s, but now we know that there are acids in these PVC casings that, over time, eat away at the manuscripts they hold. JTS needs to replace the PVC casings with more newly developed acid-free ones, but doing so would cost them tens-of-thousands of dollars.
When this project concludes, I hope to be able to use the funds I have raised to kick-start an effort to replace the PVC casings at JTS so as to help preserve these precious Genizah treasures for posterity. The money will also go to support the work of other institutions now caring for Genizah manuscripts.
Please give generously. You can send your donations to me at
15030 232nd Ave. NE
Also, don’t forget that for only $20, you can have your very own Expedition Genizah T-Shirt – this design on a lovely, dusty-blue shirt:
All T-Shirt proceeds go to the preservation efforts I mentioned above.
Again, my manuscript is due to the publisher on June 1, and the book is scheduled for publication in October.
Thanks for your support and enthusiasm – I will continue to keep you updated.
Rabbi Mark Glickman