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Solomon Schechter

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Fri 13 May 2022

It's 13th May and Schechter Day: the anniversary of the identification of this fragment of Ben Sira on 13th May 1896, setting Solomon Schechter on course for Cairo. The rest, as they say, is history. Today we'll take a look at events in Cambridge a year later. 

The diaries of Francis Jenkinson, University Librarian 1889–1923, capture moments of chaos and drama in the early years of the Genizah in Cambridge. On 15th May 1897, only weeks into work on the fragments in Cambridge, tempers were short and... Read More

Has tags: Francis Jenkinson, Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter, Stefan Reif

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 12 Jan 2022

125 years ago today, Solomon Schechter sat down to write this letter to his colleague and friend Francis Jenkinson, the University Librarian. Three weeks ago he had arrived in Egypt, made the acquaintance of Chief Rabbi Ben Shim'on, and started to delve into the contents of the Ben Ezra Synagogue's genizah. Schechter writes to Jenkinson describing his work in the dusty, insect-infested chamber and his dealings with the local men who were assisting him ('I have constantly to bakeshish them'). Interestingly, he first mentions working on 'the Genizas' (plural), before then describing 'the... Read More

Has tags: Francis Jenkinson, Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Rebecca Jefferson on Wed 22 Dec 2021

Rebecca, you have a new book coming out in February 2022. What’s it about, and how did you come to be interested in it?

The book, The Cairo Genizah and the Age of Discovery in Egypt: the History and Provenance of a Jewish Archive (I. B. Tauris, 2022), solely focuses on what we now call the ‘discovery of the Cairo Genizah’. It attempts to tell the provenance stories of the many other Genizah collections around the world whose stories have not been told as fully as that of Cambridge’s Taylor-Schechter collection. My interest in it began when I started working... Read More

Has tags: Adolf Neubauer, Bodleian, Count d'Hulst, David Kaufmann, Elkan Nathan Adler, Genizah Fragments, Greville Chester, Mordechai Adelmann, Moses Shapira, Mosseri, Q&A, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Samuel Raffalovich, Solomon Schechter, Solomon Wertheimer, Yemen

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 15 Dec 2021

On 15 December, 1898, the official thanks of the University of Cambridge for the gift of the Genizah Collection were conveyed to the Jewish community of Cairo by the University Orator in the Senate House. The original text was in Latin, but a Hebrew version was prepared and sent to Cairo with the original. An English edition then appeared in the Jewish Chronicle of 30 December, 1898.

To the Heads of the Jewish Community in Cairo:
We offer you our thanks, not only on account of the singular goodwill with which you received our Reader in Rabbinic, but also on... Read More

Has tags: Egypt, Genizah Fragments, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Solomon Schechter

 

By Ben Outhwaite and Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Wed 8 Dec 2021

Mel, what are you working on today?

I’ve been reading through a folder of correspondence between Cambridge and the Jewish Theological Seminary covering quite a few decades in the 20th century. I can’t really call it work though – it’s more like snooping. The letters and other documentation are about 251 Genizah fragments which Schechter took with him to America in 1902, when he departed Cambridge to become President of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He wanted to continue working on the fragments, and Cambridge agreed to let him borrow them for a period of time.... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Jewish Theological Seminary, Q&A, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Tue 3 Aug 2021

On his return to Britain, Solomon Schechter described his ‘pilgrimage’ to the Genizah in the Ben Ezra Synagogue. His account, an article entitled ‘A Hoard of Hebrew Mss’, was published in The Times 124 years ago, on 3 August, 1897. 

After introducing the concept of a Genizah to the British public:

‘The Genizah of the old Jewish community... represents a combination of sacred lumber-room and secular record office.’ 

Schechter outlines his motivation for visiting Cairo and thanks his patrons:

‘especially Dr. Taylor, the Master... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Noam Sienna on Wed 28 Jul 2021

Noam, what are you working on at the moment?

I’m working with Marina Rustow at the Princeton Geniza Project, helping to train a computer algorithm to transcribe documentary material from the Genizah. The PGP has lots of transcriptions and editions of documents that various Genizah scholars have done, so right now we’re getting the computer to match up what it sees on an image with the transcription that a... Read More

Has tags: Genizah Fragments, Magreb, Princeton Geniza Project, Q&A, Rabbi Ben-Shim'on, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee on Thu 13 May 2021

125 years ago today, Solomon Schechter sat down to write to Agnes Lewis. His quick note dashed off ‘in haste and great excitement’ told her that he’d managed to identify one of her recently purchased manuscripts as the original Hebrew text of the book of Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira or Sirach). It had been preserved in Greek, Syriac and other translations, but the Hebrew original was lost and its very existence was doubted by many scholars who thought the book had originally... Read More

Has tags: Adolf Neubauer, Agnes Lewis, Arthur Cowley, Ben Sira, Bodleian, Ecclesiasticus, Genizah Fragments, Jerusalem Talmud, Lewis-Gibson, Margaret Gibson, Solomon Schechter

 

By Melonie Schmierer-Lee and Nick Posegay on Wed 12 May 2021

Q&A Wednesday gives a short interview with a Genizah researcher: what are they working on today? And why?

Nick, what are you working on this week?

Lately I’ve been working on late-dated manuscripts in Genizah collections. Looking at fragments dated after 1864, trying to work out how they ended up in genizot, and thinking about what that means for “Cairo Genizah” collections as we typically understand them.

Have you found many fragments that are dated that late?

I’ve found about 25 that are explicitly dated, but I suspect... Read More

Has tags: Agnes Lewis, Genizah Fragments, Greville Chester, ketubba, Margaret Gibson, printed, Q&A, Solomon Schechter, Yemen

 

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