Wednesday, June 22, 2022

VR reconstructs the ancient synagogue of the Aleppo Codex

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: VR tech at Israel Museum resurrects destroyed Aleppo synagogue. Using the advanced technology of virtual reality to produce a digital 3D model of the synagogue, the exhibit brings back to life a community and a period long since vanished (Judith Sudilovsky, Jerusalem Post).
In Aleppo, once the center of a thriving Jewish community, [in 1947, Sarah Shammah] had hired a local Armenian photographer to meticulously photograph the Grand Synagogue building, the treasure of the Aleppo Jewish community where the sacred Aleppo Codex—considered to be the most accurate existing manuscript of the Masoretic text which was written at the beginning of the 10th century CE and is listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list—was kept carefully protected in what was known as “Elijah’s Cave.” They photographed every corner of the building, including the adjacent cemetery and garden.

As fate would have it, as they completed their work the UN made the partition declaration, the riots broke out in Aleppo and the synagogue was burned and with that the Aleppo Codex disappeared. The Armenian photographer realized the value of the negatives he had taken as the last images of the ancient synagogue, and demanded Shammah return them and the photographs to him, threatening to turn her in as a Zionist spy. That is when she, together with her brother, made their escape to the Lebanon border with the help of a Syrian Muslim friend.

The synagogue reportedly "was built between the fifth and seventh centuries CE."

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Aleppo Codex, see here (cf. here) and links

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