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The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Collection is a window on the medieval world and has been colourfully described as ‘a refuge for writings’ and ‘a battlefield of books’. Its 193,000 manuscript fragments, mainly in Hebrew, Judaeo-Arabic, Aramaic and Arabic, are an unparalleled resource for the academic study of Judaism, Jewish history and the wider economic and social history of the Mediterranean and Near East in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period. They shed light on the mundane as well as the religious and cultural activities of that world, since the Collection preserves a huge number of personal letters, legal deeds and other documents, alongside literary and sacred texts.

The manuscripts were recovered from the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, Old Cairo, in 1896–7 by the enterprising Cambridge scholar Solomon Schechter with help from his colleague Charles Taylor. In the 1970s Cambridge University Library established the Genizah Research Unit to carry out a comprehensive program of conservation, cataloguing and research on the manuscripts, which is leading to all manner of important discoveries about Jewish religious, communal and personal life, Hebrew and Arabic literary traditions, and relations between Muslims, Jews and Christians from as early as the ninth and tenth centuries CE. The Genizah Research Unit relies upon external support for its projects.


Thinking about visiting the Library to consult or view the Collection? Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page first.

Annual Genizah Lecture 2020

The Annual Genizah Lecture is the highlight of any Genizah scholar's calendar. As the ongoing pandemic prevents us from hosting large gatherings in indoor spaces, the 2020 Annual Genizah Lecture has been cancelled and its speaker rebooked for 2021.

Genizah Fragments newsletter

There will be no Autumn edition of Genizah Fragments in 2020. We hope to be able to offer a bumper edition in Spring 2021.

Please note that due to the current extraordinary circumstances relating to COVID19, we are not accepting any new bookings for Genizah visits until further notice. For those booked to come later this year we will be in touch direct nearer the time of the planned visit and advise whether it will go ahead in line with government and University guidelines at that time.

High-resolution images and detailed descriptions of more than 21,000 Genizah fragments from our Collections are now available on the Genizah section of Cambridge University Digital Library. Hundreds of new fragments are uploaded each month. Click here to see them.

The latest issue (April 2020) of Genizah Fragments, the Unit’s twice-yearly newsletter, is now available to read and download here.

In December 2020's Fragment of the Month, Amir Ashur digs into the family history of the judge Elijah b. Zechariah.

Have you found our website or bibliography useful? Would you like to make a one-off or regular donation to further Genizah research and the production of online Genizah resources at Cambridge? Give a single gift securely online or join the Friends of the Genizah to give regular support. 


Genizah Research Unit

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Contact the Unit

Dr Ben Outhwaite
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
Cambridge University Library
West Road

Tel: +44 (0)1223 333129
Fax: +44 (0)1223 333160



Support the Genizah Unit

Make a one-off donation to the Genizah Research Unit or join the Friends of the Genizah to give regular support. 


We are registered with the Fundraising Regulator. Please read our fundraising promise.

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