Fragments of the Cairo Genizah

The library stores 23 fragmented manuscripts of the Cairo Genizah in 53 pages altogether. All the fragments were scanned in 1997 as part of the Friedberg Genizah Project's efforts to facilitate Genizah research. They are categorized in the library's catalogue and accessible in full text.

 

The University of Haifa Library got the Genizah fragments from the Pevzner public library of Haifa. Pevzner had stored for many years a collection of manuscripts and among them, the ones from the Genizah. This collection they had goes back to the years of the Society for Advanced Studies in Science's library ("HaAguda Le'Hishtalmut Bamada") - a society that was founded in 1919 by graduate students of the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv. The Society moved its bureau to Haifa four years later, together with its own library, and this collection of books and manuscripts turned to be the roots of the Pevzner public library. The Genizah fragments were donated by Mr. Benjamin Ben-Israel Berstein (also known as "Benjamin Ivri"), who immigrated to Palestine from Italy during the 1920s. According to pencil notes in Russian, written on nine of the fragments we have in the library, the assumption is that these manuscripts somehow arrived from Russia or where once in the hands of a researcher or librarian of a Russian ethnicity.

The content on the fragments is divided to several fields: Biblical texts, Haftarot, Targum Onkelos, Mishnah, segments of the Babylonian Talmud, prayers, the Passover Haggadah, Piyyut, Midrashim in Judeo-Arabic languages and dictionaries. The library started a preservation process of these fragments. As part of the process, tiny pieces from the manuscripts were sent to the Sorbonne University of Paris preservation lab for examination.