Monday, July 19, 2010

Genizah Update #21: The Finishing Touches

July 19, 2010

Dear Friends,

It has been some time since I’ve last updated you on the Genizah project. Finalizing the manuscript and preparing it for publication have proven to be far more time-intensive than I’d expected, but things have now quieted (for the moment), so I thought I’d take this opportunity to bring you up to date.

Completing the Book

With a great sense of achievement, I sent a completed manuscript to the publisher in late June. They responded that it looked good, but that it was about 20,000 words too long. Evidently, when I estimated early-on that the book would consist of about 75,000 words, they took me seriously, and therefore balked at the 98,000 words in the final manuscript. In response, I had to go through a gut-wrenching process of cutting about 75 pages of text, including some material that I felt was important, such as the entire section about my Genizah expedition and some in-depth discussions of Genizah research conducted by some wonderful Muslim scholars.

Nevertheless, I went ahead and made the cuts. The publisher is now doing a “line-edit” for (grammar, punctuation, etc.), and I expect to see the results next week. In the meantime, I have been soliciting back-cover testimonials from authors and scholars, preparing to write the index, and attending to several other details to make the final preparations for publication.

Reform Judaism Magazine Saves the Day

Last week, I received a call from Joy Weinberg, editor of Reform Judaism Magazine. She told me that, unexpectedly, a spot had opened up in their winter issue, and wanted to know whether I’d be interested in contributing a piece about my Genizah Expedition. I had to refrain from responding, “You had me at Joy.”

It’s not yet certain, but it is looking as if the magazine will include a good-sized article (about 4,000 words) in their November issue. Fortunately, it will include some of the material that I had to cut from the book. Since the magazine has a circulation of 310,000, this piece may very well get wider play than the book itself!

Many thanks to my congregant and friend Carol Tice, of Bainbridge Island, for making the magazine aware of the story.


For your reading pleasure, I have attached a brief excerpt from the book about medical documents in the Genizah. I’ve left out the citations, because including them would have been a hassle, and because I wanted to leave you something good to look forward to reading in the book.

Sacred Treasure: The Cairo Genizah – Order Now and be Among the First to Receive Your Copy

The book is now available for pre-order from the publisher. Feel free to order it now so that you can have your copy as soon as it is released. You can find it at:

Support Still Needed

Thanks to the generous gifts I’ve received from so many of you, it is looking as if we will be in a position to make generous contributions to the Genizah preservation work now being conducted Cambridge University and at the Jewish Theological Seminary. As I have mentioned, these Genizah caretakers operate on a shoestring budget, and do invaluable work to ensure that the treasures will continue to be available to future generations. They need our support, and I hope you will consider a contribution. The funds I receive go to expenses incurred in writing the book, and the remainder will go to the two institutions mentioned above. You can send your checks to me at:

15030 232nd Ave. NE
Woodinville, WA 98077

As always, I thank you for your ongoing interest and support.


Rabbi Mark Glickman