Thursday, September 29, 2016

Holy trash?

THE CAIRO GENIZA MEETS ART: A Holy Hoard: Acumulación sagrada (Sherry Mazzocchi, Manhattan Times).
Solomon Schechter unearthed the most famous genizah in modern times. In 1896, the Cambridge University Talmudic scholar met friends who had purchased fascinating ancient documents from a dealer in Egypt. They were from a genizah in which Torah scrolls, books, contracts, lists, magical incantations and pretty much anything written in Hebrew letters since the 11th century had been gathered over years. By the end of World War I, Schechter hauled 193,000 documents from Cairo’s Ben Ezra synagogue to Cambridge and began a study that spanned nearly a thousand years of Jewish history.

In the “Holy Trash: My Genizah” exhibit, artist Rachel Libeskind transforms the sacred into art.

Libeskind took outdated and worn books from the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). She created concrete casts from sacred 400-year-old Jewish texts, worn Bar Mitzvah prep books and Braille Torahs. The resulting interactive exhibit echoes a famous photograph of Schechter sitting in the midst of a jumbled mass of manuscripts.
And to make it even better, the exhibition was inspired by a revelatory dream.

This is a first, but there are many past PaleoJudaica posts on the Cairo Geniza which do not involve artistic inspiration. See, recently, here, here, here, here, here, and follow the many links