[Reverend Dr Andrew Macintosh and Professor Mordechai Friedman]

Reverend Dr Andrew Macintosh (left)

The President of St John's College, the Reverend Dr Andrew Macintosh, who attended all the Genizah centenary lectures, brought the proceedings to a close and referred specifically to the Genizah's close connection with his College, and its Master in Schechter's day, Charles Taylor. The full text of his remarks is reproduced here.

By way of marking the conclusion of this series of lectures, commemorating the centenary of the arrival in Cambridge of the Genizah manuscripts, we would all wish to thank the organizers for arranging a varied and highly interesting programme.

Within the context of the Genizah, we have ranged from Targums to Talmud, from women's literacy to marriage customs, from Jewish-Muslim relations to Rabbinic custom.

Our lecturers have demonstrated the international interest in the Genizah and they have come to us from the USA, from France and, of course, from Israel. We greatly look forward to seeing the papers in print.

Coincidence may be defined as the workings of Providence. The centenary year of the Genizah sees a Hebraist, if not Master, then President of St John's College, of which the Reverend Charles Taylor, DD (joint donor of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection) was Master in 1898.

The year 1998 has also seen Professor Reif elected to a Fellowship of that same College in recognition of his tireless devotion to the work of the Genizah Research Unit. And one of our lecturers, Professor Michael Klein, of the Hebrew Union College campus in Jerusalem, was recently a popular Visiting Scholar of St John's.

Stefan Reif often speaks of Charles Taylor and of Solomon Schechter - I suspect in the past more of Dr Solomon Schechter than of the Reverend Charles Taylor. The action of the Council of St John's this year in appointing Dr Reif to a professorial fellowship will undoubtedly ensure that he will now speak of Taylor with additional pride and frequency.

Taylor was a very generous person and an all-rounder. He gave money for the land on which the Lady Margaret Boat House was built - for he was an enthusiastic oarsman. He gave large financial support to the College Mission in Walworth, South London.

Interestingly, 1998 has also witnessed the inauguration of the College's Eagle Project, designed to help able children from unpromising backgrounds in Lambeth, in the same area, to receive extra tuition so that entry into Oxbridge may not be out of the question.

Taylor was by training and profession a mathematician who, in his spare time (remarkable as this sounds), took up the study of talmudic Hebrew, publishing in 1877 an edition of Pirqey Avot which is still much used and appreciated.

And, of course, it was his financial support of Schechter which facilitated the whole Genizah enterprise.

It is said by a talmudic rabbi that a gentile who is punctilious about Jewish Sabbath observance is worthy of death.

If, then, I give expression in the two principal languages of the Genizah to our sense of deep gratitude for the miracle of the preservation of this material and for the care that has been lavished upon it here, then it would be prudent for me to do so briefly: Barukh ha-Shem wal-hamdu lillah.

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Edited by Stefan C. Reif
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University of Cambridge; last updated November 1999