Exploring a Forgotten World: A Social History of Medieval Jewry as Revealed in the Cairo Genizah

Enjoy a front-row seat to the drama, gossip, legal transactions, and other daily intrigues of Jewish life — in the Middle Ages. This 10-session course brings to life an exotic era in Jewish history, revealing the inner thoughts of real-life characters through the Cairo Genizah, a collection of 400,000 worn-out scraps, text fragments, and documents buried for centuries. Interpreting textual evidence yields new insights into the daily interactions and behaviors of Jewish men, women and families living along the Mediterranean more than 1,000 years ago — and at root, how similar they are to our own family dynamics, business ventures and communal concerns today. Join us for a historical journey of intrigue and adventure!

Table of Contents
Lesson 1 - Revealing a Forgotten World
Lesson 2 - Betrothal and Marriage
Lesson 3 - Education
Lesson 4 - Family Life
Lesson 5 - Commerce and Trade
Lesson 6 - Dangers at Sea
Lesson 7 - Famous Rabbinic Figures: Saadia Gaon, Yehudah haLevi, and Moshe ben Maimon
Lesson 8 - Outstanding Personalities from the Genizah
Lesson 9 - Interesting “Everyday” Individuals and Events
Lesson 10 - The Cairo Genizah Inspires and Lives On

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