Thursday, December 23, 2010

Genizah Update #28
"One of the Best Jewish Books of 2010”

December 23, 2010

Dear Friends,

Greetings! I hope this email finds you well. I have several exciting book-related news items to share with you:

Waking up and doing my early morning email-check today, I was delighted to learn that Jewish Ideas Daily named my book, Sacred Treasure: The Cairo Genizah, one of the best Jewish books of 2010. In fact, my book is the eighth one on the list…but maybe that’s just because it’s alphabetical. As you can see if you follow the link below, Sacred Treasure is in very good company on this list; seeing it there was a real thrill and a great honor.

Now that my book has been completed, I’ve closed the account holding the generous donations that many of you provided. Fortunately, the leftover funds allowed me to make $1,000 donations to two important Genizah institutions:

• The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library
As you may know, the Cambridge University Library holds the largest collection of Genizah manuscripts – indeed, the largest collection of Jewish manuscripts of any kind – in the world. Included in their holdings is the Mosseri Genizah Collection, a trove of 7,000 manuscripts removed from the Genizah in the early 20th century and held in a trunk in the Mosseri family home until 2006. Conservators are unpacking and processing these documents at a rate of six or so per day – it’s a huge job. This donation will support the Genizah unit in their important work with this collection. You can learn more about it at

• The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
JTS holds the worlds-second largest collection of Genizah manuscripts – about 35,000 of them. The Seminary acquired most of these treasures in the 1920’s from a collector named Elkan Nathan Adler. Adler had preserved the documents in clear plastic sleeves made of PVC – the same stuff they make water pipes from today. At the time, this was considered the latest and greatest way to preserve old manuscripts, but since then we’ve learned that PVC contains acids and other compounds which slowly eat away at the documents with which they come into contact. Knowing this, conservators now need to remove the documents from their PVC sleeves, and store them instead in sleeves made out of Melinex. Melinex is pop-bottle plastic, and it never degrades. Of course, such a project will be costly, but I’ve earmarked our donation for this specific purpose, and it’s nice to know that it will play an important role in preserving the priceless JTS Genizah treasures.

• Friday, December 24, 12:00-12:30 PST, “Beyond 50 Radio” (Portland, OR),
• Sunday, January 2, 8:00 AM PST, “Jewish Perspective Radio” (Brevard County, Florida), (Airing-date unconfirmed)

After they are aired, both programs should be available online and on iTunes.

The photograph atop this email comes to me courtesy of my friend, Dr. Ben Outhwaite, director of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge. It is not “PhotoShopped.” Rather, this is a real picture of a real copy of my book sitting amongst real manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah. The two words below and to the left of the book are, “haadhihi al-kuraasa,” which is Judeo-Arabic for “this book.”

Many thanks to those of you who have posted reviews of my book on Amazon. If you enjoyed the book, have not yet reviewed it, and are so inclined, please feel free to do so at your earliest convenience. These reviews are enormously helpful in getting the word out about the book.

Speaking of reviews, I have attached one from Rabbi Jack Riemer that I thought you might enjoy reading. It was published in the South Florida Jewish Journal


It’s still not too late to get a copy of Sacred Treasure as a belated Chanukah or Christmas gift…or as a very early one for next year. If you’re interested in purchasing a signed copy from me, please contact me or consult previous Genizah Updates for details.


As you can see, I have still have an active schedule of Genizah talks, including an upcoming talk on Monday, January 13, 7:00 PM, at Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Seattle. If you would me to come speak to your group, please contact me at your convenience.

Date Time Venue City
1. Sun, Jan 2 8:00 PM Pac. Assn. of Reform Rabbis (PARR) Palm Springs, CA
2. Thu, Jan 6 7:30 PM University Synagogue Irvine, CA
3. Mon, Jan 13 7:00 PM Third Place Books Seattle (Lake Forest Park)
4. Mon, Jan 24 TBA Temple Israel Dayton, OH
5. Tues, Jan 25 TBA The Valley Temple Cincinnati, OH
6. Wed, Jan 26 12:15 PM Hebrew Union College-Jewish Inst. of Religion Cincinnati, OH
7. Wed. Jan 26 7:00 PM Rockdale Temple Cincinnati, OH
8. Sun, Feb 27 TBA Cong. Ahavath Beth Israel Boise, ID
9. Fri, Mar 18 Noon University District Rotary Club Seattle, WA
10. March 27-30 TBA Central Conference of American Rabbis New Orleans, LA

That’s all for now. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a wonderful holiday season.


Rabbi Mark Glickman

Have you seen my new book? “Sacred Treasure--The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic” (Jewish Lights Publishing)

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