Jewish Studies

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Cairo Genizah

Who's Who in the history of the genizah

  • Solomon Schechter (1850-1915): rabbi and scholar, traveled to Cairo in 1896-7 and brought back to Cambridge University library the largest portion of the genizah. He was the first to catalog and attempt to identify each manuscript. Later, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
  • Charles Taylor (1840-1908): provided the major funding for Schechter's trip to Cairo. Master of St.John's College at Cambridge and a biblical scholar, he worked on Genizah palimpsests and later Hebrew documents.
  • Elkan Nathan Adler (1861-1946): amassed the largest personal collection of Genizah documents in the world, by traveling to Cairo and by purchases from dealers and institutions (Bodleian Library). Most of his collection is in the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY.
  • Jacob Mann (1888-1940): 2nd generation of Genizah scholars. Worked on Geonic responsa, and wrote major work on the history of the Jews in Egypt and Palestine.
  • S.D. Goitein (1900-1985): scholar on the faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and later at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Major work was A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza.
  • Jacques Mosseri (1884-1934): Cairo banker, who moved to France in the 1930's.Collected thousands of Genizah documents in the years after Schechter's visit, effectively emptying the chamber. Collection is entrustedto Cambridge.
  • Albert Friedberg (1946-): Canadian businessman and scholar. Currently leading an effort to digitize all extant Genizah documents.