Edgar Asher, Cairo Geniza at Cambridge University' Ashernet Dec 29, 2016
An exhibition at Cambridge University featuring a fraction of ancient Jewish manuscripts that are part of the unique collection known as the Cairo Geniza will open in April, 2017. Titled “Discarded History,” the exhibit displays a small percentage of 300,000 manuscripts originally found in the geniza, or storeroom, of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat. Some documents date back over 1,000 years.[...] Schechter received permission to examine the contents of the geniza and to take whatever he liked. As he later said, “I liked it all.” Schechter subsequently removed most of the manuscripts from the Ben Ezra Synagogue geniza and brought them back to Cambridge. As he began to evaluate hundreds of items, he realized that this collection of documents was an unprecedented window on Jewish life.[...] The religious and civil documents discovered in the Cairo Geniza provide scholars with copious pieces of information that, when they are all itemized and collated, will be a window on Jewish secular and religious life over the past 10 centuries.The collection was taken in 1896, in 2016 its full cataloguing is still being referred to in the future tense. Maybe instead of throwing resources at displaying the 'trophies', the institution housing them should pull their finger out and get them properly analysed at last. Too many institutions are sitting on material they have taken for themselves but have not the resources to process properlyn in good time.