Dr. Avraham Malthête,      Alliance Israélite Universelle

Dr. Avraham Malthête,  Alliance Israélite Universelle

Produced, Directed & Filmed by

MICHELLE PAYMAR

 

 

 

 

“This remarkable new film…brings viewers a lively, deeply informed                                                   introduction to one of the world’s most astonishing collections of                                                           documents about the Middle East.”                                                                                                                        Professor Stefan Reiff                                                                                                                                        Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge University

 

From Cairo to the Cloud - The World of the Cairo Geniza tells the fascinating story of the Cairo Geniza, a vast treasure trove of manuscripts discovered in the geniza, or sacred storeroom, of an ancient synagogue in Cairo. 

The Geniza is not only the largest cache of Jewish history ever found, it is a window into a vanished civilization, with over 350,000 documents illuminating over a thousand years of Jewish, Christian and Moslem life in the heart of the Islamic world. 

It is an accidental archive of unprecedented diversity, including religious texts and medical prescriptions, literary treasures and love letters, marriage contracts and business reports, magical amulets and children’s drawings. The voices from the Geniza echo through the centuries with uncanny intimacy and immediacy, bringing to life a long-silent world.

It is a collection larger, more varied and, arguably, more significant than the fabled Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet the captivating story of the Cairo Geniza is not widely known.

Until now. 

 

   
  
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    Putting documents into the Geniza at the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo - Diorama   Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv

Putting documents into the Geniza at the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo - Diorama Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv

“The Genizah...is an old Jewish institution. The word is derived from the old Hebrew verb “ganaz,” and signifies treasure-house or hiding-place. When applied to books it means much the same thing as burial means in the case of men. When the spirit is gone, we put the corpse out of sight to protect it from abuse. In like manner, when the writing is worn out, we hide the book to preserve it from profanation. The contents of the book go up to heaven like the soul”
— Solomon Schechter, 1897