We hope you all are safe and well wherever you are. Over the past month, we’ve had a surge in participation - over 100 new volunteers joined the project, and volunteers completed 5,000+ classifications in our Sorting and Transcription workflows. If you have participated, thank you again! If you aren’t in a position to help right now - don’t worry. The great thing about being a part of a crowdsourcing community is that the collective effort keeps building, and we are in awe of just how many of you have joined us in this endeavor.
April’s Scribes of the Cairo Geniza Event
If you joined us last month for our special event with Columbia University Libraries, thank you! We loved fielding your questions and hope you had a good time! If you were unable to join us, check out the recording on YouTube and additional resources on our blog.
We also want to share two upcoming virtual events related to Cairo Geniza research. Our team is not sponsoring either of these events, but promoting them as opportunities for discussion between volunteers and researchers. Registration is required.
A Look at Women’s Letters in the Cairo Geniza at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (Wednesday, May 20)
###Register online at https://forms.gle/3youoNNLgPHfm1Nf7
Join us for a virtual talk and discussion with Renée Levine Melammed.
Renée Levine Melammed is a professor of Jewish History at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem whose fields of research include the lives of conversos and Sephardi and Oriental Jewish women. Her current project deals with women’s lives as reflected in the Cairo Geniza, in particular, through letters. She has published numerous articles in four languages as well as “Heretics or Daughters of Israel: The Crypto-Jewish Women of Castile” (Oxford, 1999); “A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective” (Oxford, 2004); and “An Ode to Salonika: The Ladino Verses of Bouena Sarfatty” (Indiana University Press, 2013). She is also the academic editor of “Nashim.”
The Cairo Geniza in the Digital Age with Marina Rustow at the Stanford Text Technologies and Stanford University Libraries (Thursday, May 21)
Register online at https://events.stanford.edu/events/878/87869/
The Cairo Geniza is one of the largest and most coherent caches of fragmentary manuscripts ever discovered: 400,000 items discarded by the Egyptian Jewish community over a period of 900 years. Digitization efforts began at Princeton as early as 1985, with Penn, Cambridge and a privately funded foundation entering the fray over the decades. The geniza is an excellent case-study in what digitization can and cannot accomplish. This illustrated lecture will present the main digital partners and their databases, take stock of what is transferrable to other caches, and brainstorm ideas for the future.
Marina Rustow is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Professor of History at Princeton University, Director of the Princeton Geniza Lab and Director of the Near Eastern Studies Program. She is the author of Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (2008) and of The Lost Archive: Finding a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue (2020).
Thank you again for all your hard work! As always, you can join us in classifying and transcribing fragments from the Cairo Geniza at scribesofthecairogeniza.org. Note: This project is also available in Hebrew and Arabic. To switch, use the language toggle in the top right of the page.