Directed by Michelle Paymar (Canada, 2018, 92 min.). Digital. New England premiere.
In 1896, when Solomon Schechter entered the geniza (sacred storeroom) of an ancient synagogue in Cairo, he was confronted by an extraordinary discovery: a vast treasure trove of manuscripts that revolutionized our understanding of 1,000 years of vibrant Jewish life in the heart of the Islamic world. The Cairo Geniza contained more than half a million documents of unprecedented diversity, including religious texts, medical prescriptions, love letters, marriage contracts, medical prescriptions, and children’s school lessons—a veritable Facebook of the Middle Ages. These documents from the 10th to 13th centuries testify to a period of relative religious tolerance and a complex society that traded goods and ideas from India to Spain, advancing culture, science, philosophy, medicine, and theology. After their discovery, the documents were dispersed among 70 collections worldwide. Today, these archives have been digitally reunited.
Followed by a Q&A with David Starr, executive director of Tzion.