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The Cairo Genizah
fragments A genizah (plural genizot) is a storeroom or repository for old, used and damaged books, Torah scrolls, and other documents containing the name of God,
whose destruction Jewish tradition proscribes.Documents from the Cairo Genizah date from the 9th through through the 15th centuries. Written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Judeo-Arabic, they catalogue the social, cultural, and religious lives of Jews around the Mediterranean basin. The fragments were discovered in the late 19th century in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat, a neighborhood in Old Cairo. While most of the fragments eventually wound up at Cambridge, many came to North America. Learn more about the Cairo Genizah


The Project

In 2000, the Penn Libraries and the Taylor-Schechtor Genizah Research Unit of the Cambridge University Library began planning for a collaborative effort to reunite virtually the dispersed fragments from the Cairo Genizah. Thanks to a generous gift from Mr. Jeffrey Keil, Penn alumnus and member of the Penn Libraries' Board of Overseers, this collaborative effort has led to the creation of a pilot web site that displays, for the first time, selected holdings of two distinct institutions. Web technologies are well suited to reuniting dispersed corpora, and we see our project as complementary to similar projects involving collections of papyri held by several North American universities. See a list of supporters and contributors.

This web site is an evolving project. Its size and functionality will continue to grow and improve with time, experience, and additional partners.