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For a millennium the Jewish community of Old Cairo placed their old books and other writings, from marriage contracts and love letters, to children’s drawings and even drafts from the hands of Maimonides, in a genizah, or storeroom, of the Ben Ezra Synagogue. In 1896 Dr Solomon Schechter, a Talmudic scholar, was granted permission by the Jewish community of Egypt to take all he liked to Cambridge. He ‘liked it all’ and took 193,000 manuscripts.
This treasure trove from Cairo has had a seismic impact on our understanding of Jewish history. Ben Outhwaite, head of the Cambridge University Library Genizah Research Unit and Raquel Ukeles, Islam and Middle East Curator at the National Library of Israel, will join film-maker Michelle Paymar, whose breath-taking film From Cairo to the Cloud tells the story of how the content of the Genizah, dispersed around the globe, has become accessible to all, in examining the legacy of this extraordinary discovery.
Michelle Paymar is an award-winning filmmaker. Her independent work has screened at festivals around the world and she has extensive credits as a director and writer of documentary and non-fiction programmes.
Dr Ben Outhwaite has been Head of the Genizah Research Unit in Cambridge University Library since 2006, having worked for the previous seven years as a Genizah researcher.
Raquel Ukeles is curator of the Islam and Middle East collections of the National Library of Israel.
In Partnership with the National Library of Israel