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From Cairo to the Cloud

  • C2C still1 Piet-Van-Boxel-Bodleian-Library-Talmud 720X360-slideshow
  • C2C still2 Schechter at work 720X360-slideshow
  • C2C still3 Illustrated-Childrens-Book 720X360-slideshow
  • C2C still5 Hebrew-Book-Oxford 720X360-slideshow

Screenings & Events

No events

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."

Guest Bios

Michelle-Paymar-headshot 130x130 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). 
Brendan-G-Goldsmith headshot 130x130 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.


C2C poster 150x225

Film Details:

Director: Michelle Paymar
Country: Canada, USA, Egypt, France, Israel, United Kingdom
Language: English
Running Time: 94m
Year: 2018
Genre: Documentary
Official Website

Rating/Warning: G


  • Ancient Society/Texts
  • Archives
  • Arab-Jewish Relations
  • Egypt
  • Digital Technology • Hebrew
  • Geniza
  • Judaism
  • Sacred Texts
  • Solomon Schechter