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By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 15 Sep 2021

At sundown today, Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – begins. It’s a day for fasting, repentance, and forgiveness. And over 900 years ago it was a day to teach a wealthy woman a lesson through public humiliation. Part of T-S 10J7.10 is a deposition to the court about Karima daughter of ‘Ammar, known to all as al-Wuhsha ‘the broker’. Documents in the Genizah have recorded the commercial and private affairs of al-Wuhsha, including her love affair with a married man, Hassun from Ashkelon, which... Read More

Has tags: al-Wuhsha, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, legal, Yom Kippur

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Moshe Yagur on Wed 21 Jul 2021

Hi Moshe, what are you working on at the moment?

In my new project I’m working on dwelling patterns of Jews, Christians and Muslims in medieval Egypt (and a bit elsewhere). We know they lived side by side, but to what extent? How did it effect notions of communal identity, religious practices, inter-religious contacts and sympathies, and so on?

Which kinds of Genizah manuscript are you utilising for this?

There are several kinds of documents to look at:

1. Deeds of sale or rent, written either in Jewish or Muslim court,... Read More

Has tags: Fustat, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, legal, Moses Maimonides, Muslim-Jewish relations, property

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 15 Jul 2021

It’s the 15th of July, and 922 years since the Christian armies of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from her Fatimid defenders. The siege of 38 days ended in a bloodbath, according to contemporary accounts, but the Cairo Genizah preserves what may be the earliest written account of some of the events of that day, and its aftermath. Weeks after Jerusalem was looted and burned, the elders of Ashqelon wrote to the Egyptian Jewish community to describe the reports of refugees who had either fled there ahead of the Crusaders or had been captured and released by them. 

... Read More

Has tags: Crusaders, Fatimid, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, Jerusalem

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 8 Jul 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 12 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in October 1986, by Mordechai A. Friedman:

The ban of Rabbenu Gershom ben Judah of Mainz (early eleventh century), which prohibited polygamy among the Ashkenazim, was never accepted by Jewish communities living under Islam. But how polygamous were these Jews during the so-called “classical” Genizah period of the High Middle Ages, between the tenth and thirteenth centuries?

... Read More

Has tags: betrothal, Crusaders, divorce, Genizah Fragments, Gershom, get, Goitein, Karaite, mamluk, marriage, Mordechai Akiva Friedman, polygamy, responsa, Simcha Assaf, slave

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 17 Jun 2021

To mark Refugee Week (14–20 June 2021), here’s a letter from Alexandria, Egypt from September 1212 CE, reporting the arrival of a large number of French refugees at the port. As Europe became less and less hospitable to its Jewish population – Phillip II of France had been enacting policies to confiscate Jewish property since 1180 – refugees began to flee across the Mediterranean to safety in Egypt. Their arrival is mentioned towards the end of a letter (T-S 12.299) sent to the cantor Meʾir ben Yakhin in... Read More

Has tags: charity, France, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, refugees

 

By Ben Outhwaite and Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 2 Jun 2021

So, Mel, tell me what are you working on today?

I’m writing a catalogue entry for T-S NS J378. It’s an easy one to do, because — helpfully — several other people have already translated it: Goitein, Gershon Weiss, and Amir Ashur. We still need a catalogue entry for it, though, for Cambridge Digital Library, so I’m writing that. It’s a betrothal agreement, written by our favourite court scribe, Halfon ben Manasseh. The date isn’t preserved, but because we know Halfon’s handwriting, we... Read More

Has tags: betrothal, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, legal, marriage, Q&A

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 20 May 2021

Our Throwback Thursday this week is taken from issue 41 of the printed edition of Genizah Fragments, published in April 2001, by Erica C.D. Hunter and Friedrich Niessen:

In 1980, in the fourth volume of A Mediterranean Society, page 467, S. D. Goitein noted that T-S NS J390 (23.5 x 11.7 cms) and T-S 13J7.8 (27.4 x 6.5 cms) could... Read More

Has tags: Christian, dowry, Genizah Fragments, Goitein, marriage, Peshitta, Syriac, trousseau

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Fri 14 May 2021

The items in this shopping list reveal the careful planning and budgeting needed to celebrate the festival of Shavuot in style. First published by S.D. Goitein (Med. Soc IV, pp. 230-231), this fragment (T-S NS J437) dates to the 13th century, and may have been written by the court scribe Solomon b. Elijah. It includes (for Friday): little chickens, meat, a pound of fat tail, a hen, garden mallow, cubeb and garlic, two measures of sesame oil, eggplants; and (for Saturday): a lemon hen, chard, onions, safflower... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Goitein, Shavuot

 

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