Virtual Screening Details: Sephardic/Mizrachi Spotlight
Streaming Timeframe: Sun. March 7, 2pm - Wed. March 10, 2pm (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)
Available for Viewing in United States only
Zoom Conversation: Tues. March 9, 6:30pm with Director Michelle Paymar and Brendan G. Goldman, Hazel D. Cole Fellow at UW Stroum Center for Jewish Studies (link emailed 1 hour before)
How to Watch? Read our Streaming FAQs
About The Film
In 1896, Talmudic scholar Solomon Schechter entered the sacred storeroom of an ancient synagogue in Cairo, known as the Geniza. There, he found a vast treasure trove of cast-off documents and paper scraps hidden for centuries that revolutionized our understanding of Jewish history. Suddenly, historians gained insight into thousands of years of vibrant Jewish life in the heart of the Islamic world. From sacred manuscripts to everyday personal correspondence with Muslim and Christian neighbors to young children practicing the Hebrew alphabet, the Cairo Geniza contains the largest compendium of Jewish artifacts ever found.
But after their discovery, the documents were dispersed among 70 different libraries and collections worldwide. Today, thanks to an unprecedented international effort, the riches of these archives have been digitally reunited, from Cairo to "the cloud," where they are freely accessible online to everyone everywhere.
This illuminating and well-researched documentary tells the story of the world's most extraordinary collection of ancient Jewish relics and their astounding odyssey into the modern world.
A note from filmmaker Michelle Paymar: "The film was very well-attended at the New York Sephardi Film Festival and the Sephardic Film Festival of Montreal and features "Sephardic" Jews from the areas around the Mediterranean, including Portugal, Spain, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. [...] There are documents in Ladino (and many other languages!) in the Geniza, but the Geniza people mostly spoke Arabic and wrote Judeo-Arabic, Arabic written with Hebrew letters."
||Director Michelle Paymar received a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from the American Film Institute and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley. Paymar is a member of the International Documentary Association and Women in Film. Her production company makes independent documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and NGO's. Clients include Amnesty International (Canada) Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay (California) and Ayubowan Women's Project (Sri Lanka). Earlier films include her pioneering AIDS documentary, FOR OUR LIVES, and SIPPIE, a documentary about classic blues artist Sippie Wallace (Co-Directed with Roberta Grossman).
||Guest Speaker Brendan G. Goldman is the Hazel D. Cole Postdoctoral Fellow in Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. He is a historian of the Jewish communities of the medieval Islamic world and a specialist in the documents of the Cairo Geniza. Brendan's first book, Camps of the Uncircumcised: The Cairo Geniza and Jewish Life in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, is forthcoming in 2021. His second book project examines the prison system in medieval Egypt through Jewish documents.
Director: Michelle Paymar
Country: Canada, USA, Egypt, France, Israel, United Kingdom
Running Time: 94m
- Ancient Society/Texts
- Arab-Jewish Relations
- Digital Technology • Hebrew
- Sacred Texts
- Solomon Schechter
- SAMIS Foundation
- Maureen and Joel Benoliel
- Celeste and David Rind
- Community Partners: